An alcohol intervention has the best chance of going well when it is deliberately scripted and contains no surprises. That’s why many intervention specialists recommend that all participants in an alcohol intervention write intervention letters that express support for the alcoholic while detailing the reasons why change is needed.

There are a few reasons why intervention letters are effective. First, they help you organize your thoughts so that you know what you do and don’t want to say to the alcoholic. Second, they give you something to read from during the intervention, which helps prevent your speech from becoming overemotional. And third, intervention letters give you the ability to say things that you normally don’t say out loud to the person.

How you write your letter depends on your relationship with the addict and the exact nature of the situation, but when you are at a loss for what to say, you can always follow this rough formula:

  1. Start by telling the alcoholic how much you love him or her. If you don’t usually express this sentiment to this person, now is your chance to say it.
  2. Express the significance of this relationship in your life, and maybe tell a story that illustrates how good things were before the alcoholism took over.
  3. Express that you have noticed the extent to which alcoholism has taken over the addict’s life. Try to avoid taking an accusatory tone in this section. Remember that alcoholism is a disease and that the addict is suffering from it more than anyone else. Even if you have anger or bitterness toward the person, set those feelings aside.
  4. Toward the end of the letter, make note of the ways in which your loved one’s addiction has negatively affected you. If it has hurt you in some way, or if it has had negative repercussions on your own life, outline these effects as clearly possible and in a way that is not too harsh.
  5. Finally, express that they have your full support, that you will be there for support during the recovery process, and tell them that you’re here to help.