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What You Should (and Should Not) Say During an Intervention

A family participating in an intervention to try to get their loved one help with his addiction.
There are messages you can say during an intervention that can help encourage your loved one to get addiction treatment.

There’s so much you would like to say to your loved one about their alcohol or drug addiction. In fact, you have so much to say that you’ve had hours and hours of discussion with your loved one.

At least, in your own head. Talking to your loved one in-person is another story entirely.

You want to tell your loved one how their destructive behaviors have hurt you. You want them to understand that their substance abuse has damaged the family. And you want them to feel just as scared as you are about their drug use.

An intervention can help you communicate all of that and more. But when you start actually preparing for an intervention, you seem to forget everything you want to say. It’s as if all those words you had repeated to yourself over and over again have just disappeared from your mind. In reality, you still know everything you want to say, but fear about how your loved one will react is making you second guess yourself and not know where to begin.

Luckily, we can help you prepare for your loved one’s addiction intervention. This article will help you determine what you should say during an intervention, plus give you a few tips on what you shouldn’t say.

5 Messages You Should Say in an Intervention

Everything you say during a drug intervention should be genuine and compassionate. Your loved one is going through a lot of pain of their own, so it’s important to be sensitive and help them see you’re not here to attack them or make them feel worse than they already do.

1. Speak from a Place of Love and Empathy

First and foremost, tell your loved one at the start of an intervention that you love them. Your loved one is experiencing a lot of self-deprecating thoughts and emotions – many of which may have led them towards substance abuse in the first place. Use this time to express how much you care about them, as they may falsely believe that no one is there for them.

2. Tell Them How Much You Believe in Them

People struggling with addiction oftentimes struggle with low self-esteem and confidence. Maybe your loved one is also suffering from depression or anxiety that has made them feel useless. During an intervention, remind them of all their successes and of the times they overcame adversity. Tell them that you will always have faith in them and believe they’ll be able to break free from their drug abuse.

3. Share Your Pain and Fears in a Calm, Caring Way

Besides being positive and understanding, you should use this intervention time to open up to your loved one about how their addiction has harmed you. But keep in mind, you don’t want to lose your cool and berate them. Try prefacing this communication by saying you want to explain your feelings so you can work towards healing your relationship with them. From there, communicate your feelings in a calm way, so your loved one doesn’t get defensive and feel like you’re blaming them.

4. Talk about Addiction as a Physical Disease that Can Be Healed

It’s common for people struggling with addiction to feel like something is wrong with them; to feel broken with no way to heal. This is, in part, because of the still widely-held belief that someone addicted to alcohol or drugs can control their substance use and stop whenever they want. The reality, though, is that addiction is a disease. When speaking to your loved one in an intervention, explain that you understand their addiction is a disease that isn’t their fault. Tell them they can recover from this disease, but they need proper treatment and care to do it.

5. Share the Benefits of Addiction Treatment

The ultimate goal of an intervention is to persuade your loved one to enter addiction treatment. If your loved one has never been to rehab and has fears of withdrawal and relapse, talk to them about the benefits of treatment and what their life can be like when they do, in fact, recover. If your loved one has been to rehab before and relapsed, talk about how not all treatment programs are made equal and how this time around can be different. Remember, your interventionist can help you talk about treatment, so don’t worry about memorizing every little detail of the rehab program you’re recommending to them.

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What Not to Say During a Drug Intervention

As mentioned above, the most effective interventions are the ones where the message is focused on love and empathy. You never want to become aggressive or add to your loved one’s shame and guilt.

Here are additional points you should absolutely avoid if you’re doing an intervention with your loved one:

  • Never make excuses for your loved one’s substance abuse. While addiction is a disease, they still need to understand that there are consequences to their destructive behaviors.
  • Don’t compromise on addiction treatment. Your loved one may try to avoid rehab by telling you they’ll throw out all their drugs or attend AA meetings. While good steps, your loved one can’t overcome their addiction on their own and needs addiction treatment to get on a path towards recovery.
  • Avoid aggressive language where you’re calling your loved one names, swearing at them or yelling at them. This will put your loved one on the defensive and close them off to the idea of addiction treatment.
  • Try to avoid accusatory language or blaming them for their addiction. This negativity will only add to the pain and struggle your loved one is going through. Instead of starting each statement with “you”, try focusing what you say with “I”. This can help alleviate any risk of blaming your loved one or inadvertently making them feel guilty.

Your Loved One Can Find Long-Lasting Recovery at The Raleigh House

If your loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope that they’ll recover and find lasting sobriety. It all starts at The Raleigh House with our intervention services where we can help you communicate with your loved one and get them into treatment.

Once your loved one is ready for treatment, they’ll be able to access our full continuum of care that starts with safe and effective detox. Once they’ve completed detox and entered our residential program, your loved one will engage in evidence-based and holistic treatments like individual therapy and exercise to help heal the mind, body and spirit. From there, your loved one can transition to outpatient treatment to learn how to live their everyday life without alcohol or drugs.

If you’re ready to learn more, we’re here to answer your questions and talk more about our unique and effective approach to addiction treatment. Fill out our form or contact us today to get in touch with one of our friendly admissions team members.

Call Now: 720-891-4657

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