When the time comes to sit a loved one down and confront them about a drug or alcohol problem, many family members get nervous. Even after weeks of planning the alcoholism intervention and thinking about what you’re going to say, the pressure can become too much, and you may be tempted to second guess yourself. But you can be strong and get through this by preparing adequately and having a good sense of what you do and don’t want to say.

Of course, what to say at an alcoholism intervention varies based on your relationship with the addict and his or her condition, but here are a few general guidelines to keep in mind.

  1. Stick with the facts: It’s hard to avoid becoming emotional during an alcoholism intervention, and showing too much hurt or anger may just put your loved one on the defensive. You can prevent these issues by relying on the who, when, what, and how of the alcohol problem.
  2. Make it a conversation: No matter how prepared you are, you must be ready for your addicted loved one to have objections to what you say. Don’t try to make it a one-sided conversation; listen to their objections and try not to become argumentative or defensive in your own right.
  3. Rely on the others: If you get into a rough patch during the intervention or your emotions get the better of you, don’t be afraid to turn the conversation over to the other people in the room. You don’t have to get it all out at once.
  4. Present options: Be prepared to present rehab options. If the addict appears willing to go along with a treatment program, it’s important to be able to impart realistic facts about the available options and what to expect in treatment.
  5. Express your support: The most important thing during an alcoholism intervention is to be compassionate and supportive. Even if your loved one doesn’t respond well to the intervention, they need to know that they will have your support when they do come around.