Intervention Services: Formal and Focused Approach

It can be extremely challenging to help a loved one struggling with addiction. While sometimes a heart-to-heart conversation can start the road to recovery, often the person struggles to acknowledge that help is needed and a more focused approach is needed. A formal intervention can help loved ones join forces and offer a solution.

People who struggle with addiction are often in denial about their situation and unwilling to seek treatment. They may not recognize the negative effects their behavior has on themselves and others. An intervention presents your loved one with a structured opportunity to make changes before things get even worse, and it can motivate him or her to seek or accept help.

An intervention is a carefully planned process that may be done by family and friends, in consultation with a professional. During the intervention, these people gather together to confront your loved one about the consequences of addiction and ask him or her to accept treatment.


The intervention:

  • Provides specific examples of destructive behaviors and their impact on your loved one with the addiction and family and friends
  • Offers a prearranged treatment plan with clear steps, goals and guidelines
  • Spells out what each person will do if your loved one refuses to accept treatment

Writing a Letter to a Loved one

Dear [insert loved one’s name],

[This section reflects that the writer loves the person who needs help and is grateful for some specific experiences they’ve had together. It also demonstrates their bond is not broken, though the relationship may be strained. It’s a good idea to address the person by their familial relationship, such as dad, mom, bro, sis, etc.]

I am here because I love you and I want to get you (my son, my brother, my friend) back). I am so happy that this is happening today and that I am a part of it. You have played such a huge role in my life. I have so many memories of spending time with you. Remember when you taught me how to swim? I was really afraid, and you told me to pretend that I was a dog and to do the doggy paddle – you know how much I love dogs! I often think about what you said to me when I was having trouble in my new school, in the 7th grade. You reminded me that it’s more important to be myself than to lie just so people would like me. That helped me get through a tough situation. I couldn’t have done it without it. I trusted you to help me, and you did. I’ll never forget that. Thank you.

[In this section, the writer is clear that she is aware that the drug abuse is occurring. She cites specific examples of symptoms, signs, and the consequences of the drug abuse. It is very important in this section that you let the person know how negatively their substance abuse is affecting you]

I know that you have been abusing prescription pain pills since your accident. I know that these pain pills are addictive if you take too many, and you have been taking too many for a long time now. People who work in addiction say that it would be really hard for you to stop on your own. I read about how pain pills make people feel and look, and I’ve seen you that way so many times. Last month, when I came home, you were standing in the kitchen acting dizzy, like you were going to pass out. You were just rocking back and forth. It scares me to see you this way and I can’t stop thinking and worrying about you. Your disease is affecting our whole family. Mom is always stressed out and we are now worried about her too. I am tired of having to worry about you and to not know if you are okay. When you do drugs and don’t take care of your health, it really hurts me. I know that you would be worried about me if I have a disease because you really love me too.

[In this section, the offer to go to rehab is made. An ultimatum is also included, if the offer is rejected.]

I’m not the only one who loves you. We all do. That’s why we already reserved a space in a rehab program for you. We found you a great place. The people are really nice and they can help you; they’ve helped a lot of people. It’s hard for me to say this next part, but I have to, for you and for myself.

If you don’t go to rehab today, I am not going to protect your drug abuse anymore. I won’t tell lies to people for you anymore; you are the one person who always told me never to lie. If your boss calls and asks why you aren’t at work, I’m going to tell the truth. If people ask me what’s wrong with you, I am going to tell the truth.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can get help. This disease is 100 percent treatable. Will you accept our offer and go to rehab today?

With all my love,


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