Just because you aren’t the one with the addiction doesn’t mean you are any less affected. If someone you love is suffering from an addiction, you’re probably experiencing a difficult time as well. You might be thinking you’re alone in this trial or that there is no hope. However, you’re definitely not alone, and if you want to find hope, don’t try to do it alone. Use these five steps to help you develop an effective support system.

5 Steps Those Close to an Addict Can Take to Develop an Effective Support System

1. Attend Individual Counseling

Studies prove time and time again that therapy is a very effective form of treatment with anything addiction related. Therapy allows you an opportunity to confidentially express your thoughts, feelings, and struggles. Your therapist can offer advice and suggestions to help you overcome common issues such as depression.

2. Get Family Therapy

If your family member (or close personal friend who you think of as family) is struggling with addiction, you should get family therapy. It will help you better understand your loved one and the addiction so that you can better handle the upcoming journey. It’s important to do everything you can to salvage your relationship if possible. Note that unless your loved one is dedicated to change, this therapy may not be effective for them, but it will help you come to terms with and understand the problem.

3. Join a Support Group

Support groups aren’t just formed for those suffering from addiction. They are also available for those close to addicts. You can find a group where you can gain friends and other support as you come to terms with your situation. Hearing other insights and advice, as well as empathizing with others in similar situations, is a tremendous comfort during this difficult time.

4. Rely on Knowledge

Lean on the support that comes with knowing exactly what addiction is and how it affects your loved one. With proper understanding, you can continue to see the good in your loved one and help them to be better. Counseling will help you to better understand your loved one and recognize that there is hope.

5. Take Care of Yourself

You will ultimately be your greatest support if you take care of yourself. Recognize your strengths and know that you have done nothing to spur this addiction. Take the time to get healthy and make yourself feel good. If you make a conscious effort to help yourself and remain confident and happy, you can help both yourself and your loved one during this time.