What to Say During an Intervention

What to say during an interventionStaging an intervention is an act of love and care.  Many people who are planning interventions are close family members or friends of an addict, though it is becoming increasingly common for employers to stage workplace interventions if they become aware that an employee has a substance abuse problem.  No matter the circumstances, the intent must come from a place of concern and genuine support.

How Do I Know What to Say During an Intervention?

That doesn’t mean it’s easy to show those feelings to the addict during the intervention.  There are a lot of tough truths that you have to tell, and much of what you say will initially strike the addict as hurtful and even cruel.  That’s why you must prepare before the intervention.  Many people choose to work with an interventionist so they feel confident about what to say during the event.

An interventionist is likely to ask everyone attending the intervention to write out and practice what they are going to say. Here are some tips on what to say during an intervention:

  • Be specific. Make sure that the addict actually knows all the ways her behavior is destructive to herself and to those she cares about. Many addicts manage to forget all but recent problems or incidents, and many convince themselves that others aren’t aware of all the ways they are messing up. Enumerating them clearly will cause the addict to see her problem in a more accurate light.
  • Try to begin statements with “I” instead of “you.”  Beginning with “you” often leads to accusations and a defensive reaction.  It is much harder to do productive work once the addict feels like you are his enemies or accusers.
  • Tell the addict about treatment in a positive way.  You should come into the intervention with a strong idea of the best possible treatment option, and you want to be able to tell the addict about the facility you’re recommending and give assurances about how logistics will be handled with money and time off from work or school.
  • Explain your ultimatum carefully and firmly.  You must have everyone in agreement on the conditions of the ultimatum and make sure the addict knows there is no alternative other than treatment.  Tell the addict whether you will no longer be giving her money, letting her live with you, answering her phone calls or whatever else you agree upon with your interventionist and other loved ones.  This is one of the most difficult things for both you and the addict, so practice what you are going to say several times.

Don’t hesitate to call (888) 371-5722 to learn more about what to say during an intervention and to get help planning one.

Comments are closed.