Talking to an Addicted Person about Recovery

Talking to an Addicted Person about Recovery


When talking to a person of concern (POC) it is important to change the way that you have been talking to them in the past. Below are some of my favorite phrases to use when addressing someone with addiction.

Talking to an Addicted Person about Recovery

This is not an intervention. We are creating a plan for the family to recover from this. You put us though a lot, and we need to clean it up. We will create a plan for you to recover to; the plan will be there for you when you are ready.

I understand that I chose the date and time for this meeting, and that must be uncomfortable, but I just can’t go along with this any longer.

I understand that you are not ready, we are creating a plan for when you are.

We are having a meeting tomorrow to talk about your addiction, we will not be fighting, we will not be arguing, we will not be crying, but we will be taking actions, we think you should attend.

Let’s be honest, we didn’t call an intervention, you called for it.

Life has really big moments that you remember forever, some are planned, like our wedding. Others are a total surprise, like Billy’s goal in that game. I know that we will remember those days for the rest our lives. Today is certainly of those days; the decisions you make today will benchmark the rest of our lives. Today is monumental.

We are at a crossroads. I call it a Robert Frost moment, you get to choose between two paths. You do have to choose now, and you have to let me know what the choice is. I will fully support you choosing recovery, but I probably won’t be on the road if you choose to use.

If I was struggling like this, you would crawl over glass to save me, you would go to the end of the earth, you  would do the same thing for anyone that we love. Well, this is I, going to the end of the earth for you. This is my moment to do what you would do for me.

“Why are you punishing me?”

This is not a punishment, it is the opposite of that, I am looking to see what you will do to fix the past, and build a future. This is the quickest way for you to rejoin the family in a positive way.

Your addiction put me through a lot, you bamboozled me. I am positive I only know the half of it. You chose to hide a lot of things from me. That all stops now. This is the moment in time when that stops.

All good things must come to an end, your run has come to an end.

I understand that I chose the date and time for this meeting, and that must be uncomfortable, but I just can’t go along with this any longer.

This is your way out, this is a better path.

I don’t want to go to treatment.”

I get that you don’t “want to” go to treatment. We will take this want into consideration, but with the facts here, it looks like we are way past that talking point.

You already mentioned that you don’t want to go, and I heard that, and we are creating a plan for you and for the family. You don’t have to go along with the plan, that’s your choice, but this is what the plan is.

This feels like an Ultimatum, you are Backing me into a Corner.”

Ultimatum? No, this is not an ultimatum; ultimatums are how I tried to deal with this over the years. Remember when I told you I would leave you if you ever did this again? You knew that wasn’t going to happen, you did it again, and I didn’t do anything. We both know ultimatums don’t work, this is a plan.

This has backed me into many corners. This is me trying to help you out.

I am only hurting myself.”

Your addiction has been in charge long enough, I have been sucked into a tornado, this is the time that we change that. I am get to have equal say in your addiction, it has tremendous effects on my life and its only fair that I get to manage it. I have asked for help in how to fix this situation. 

You say that you deserve to drink, that it doesn’t effect anyone but you, please take a look around, it effects all of us in these ways.

You have said that you would die for the kids. I am wondering if you would chose to live for them?

You put me though 6 rough years. I need to know what I can expect in the next 6. 

You don’t understand.”

What you’re doing looks like a lot of fun, I wish I could do it with you. The late nights, the strip clubs. Wow, it’s reminiscent of when we first met and went to the parties in Miami. That was a fun time in our lives and I have good memories of those times. When we had Zoe, my life changed, I can no longer live that life, I am pretty committed to raising the kids for the next 10 years. If you want to continue to use, I get that, but I can’t be on that path with you.  Maybe I can join back up with you when they graduate college, but for now, I need to focus on them. 

I need to do this my way.”

How is your way working?

We have evidence that your attempts don’t seem to work that well.

You have said that you would die for the kids, I am wondering if you would chose to live for them?

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, I want you to understand what the reaction will be to you choosing to continue using. 

“OK, I will stop using (one drug).”

Let’s talk to a doctor about that plan.

I don’t know much about addiction, I think that we should seek out advice on how that will work out.

You can continue to use, you need to let me know if that is your plan, I deserve to know your plan. I want you to understand what choices I am going to make knowing your plan. What you can’t do is lie to me about your plan.

You can choose between a plan that fixes this problem, brings you back into the house and connect you with this kids, or you can choose to continue to use. The recovery plan would look really attractive to me, and if I were you, I would defiantly choose that. The marriage, the kids, and the house we built, basically our little nirvana. That’s all over on the recovery side. I couldn’t imagine choosing to continue to use.


About Adam Banks

Adam Banks is a certified interventionist and the owner of Adam Banks Recovery. After receiving an MBA from the University of Chicago, Adam built a company acquired by United Health Care. His discipline and attention to detail comes from his former career as an airline pilot, holding an ATP, the FAA’s highest license.

Today, Adam is dedicated to helping others achieve long-term sobriety. His work has guided executives, pilots, and physicians on paths to recovery. Adam brings families together through a loving and inclusive approach.

Adam has authored four books on addiction. His recent work, Navigating Recovery Ground School: 12 Lessons to Help Families Navigate Recovery, educates families on the entire intervention process. He also offers a free video course for families considering an intervention for a loved one. 

Adam is available for alcohol and drug intervention services in New York, Long Island, the Hamptons as well as nationally and internationally. 

Recommended Posts