Drug Intervention: What to Say to a Loved One at a Drug Intervention

One of the most difficult things about staging a drug intervention for a loved one is figuring out what to say; especially if you do not have a way with words and have never dealt with an addicted person before.  It can be hard to figure out exactly what to say to an addicted loved one and how to say it in the most powerful way. Fortunately, most successful drug interventions follow a tried-and-true formula, which means that you do not have to be too creative.

Tough but gentle love

An addicted person who is in denial needs firmness, but a drug intervention can go poorly if your words are perceived as hostile or accusatory. Finding this balance can be extremely difficult. Tell your loved one that your family will no longer accept excuses for self-destructive behavior, and try to anticipate his or her usual denial-related lines. Emphasize that the addiction is real and that action is needed.


If you think it would help, make it explicitly clear right off the bat that everything you are saying is out of love. Inform the addict that this event is just as difficult for you as it is for him or her, if not more difficult. If the addict protests or expresses discomfort with what is going on, say that everyone in attendance just wants to say their piece and those involved are going to listen with open minds even if it is uncomfortable.


Of course, it is best to avoid harsh words and tones when saying these things. Continually emphasize that you are doing this because you care, and remind the addict why the drug intervention has become necessary—namely, because everything else has failed. In other words, he or she brought this on by refusing to seek drug treatment for so long.

Highlight the ravages of addiction

Part of the reason to have a drug intervention is because the problem has gotten out of hand, and the addict is now a danger to himself/herself or others. If you have reached this point, then no doubt virtually everyone in the family has at least a couple of stories illustrating the damages wrought by the addict’s habit. Highlight stories that are likely to illuminate the problem without elevating the tensions in the room.


The best stories to tell involve moments where the addict failed you, embarrassed you, or did not live up to his or her familial, social, or financial responsibilities. The story should show that the addiction has hurt more people than just the addict.

End with positive thoughts

Whatever you say during the intervention, be sure to end it on a positive note. The addict needs to be confronted with the seriousness of the situation and the importance of seeking treatment, but ultimately he or she needs to know that the family offers their full support. And of course, it is important to be as genuine as possible. Every addict needs emotional support as they move through drug recovery, so your family’s efforts should not end with the drug intervention.

Recovery Now TV is designed to build awareness surrounding the recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. We believe that treatment and recovery WORKS. The dialogue between people who have recovered brings hope to those who are still struggling with their addiction. Our TV show is a demonstration that ANYONE is a candidate for treatment and can overcome their addiction. There are thousands of treatment options available to people in the United States. Let us help you find the right treatment program for you.

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