Addiction is a difficult topic. It affects families in different ways, and no two people wrestle with addiction in the same way. This creates a barrier between family members and loved ones through which communication can often seem impossible.

We shouldn’t give up on our struggling relatives, though, and with enough patience it is possible to get through to them. Love and patience can creep through the thickest fog and remind an addicted person that they are not alone.

Here are three ways to support a loved one struggling with addiction.

Educate Yourself

Many people try talking to an addicted person as if they already know all there is to know about the battle they are fighting. The truth is, a healthy person can only imagine how an addiction is making their loved one suffer. Doing research about what your loved one feels will give them the sense that you care enough to speak their language.

When it seems that you are both speaking the same language, you might have more luck getting your loved one to come back home–and even to accept therapy.

Being educated will also help you have a realistic understanding of what your loved one’s recovery process will be like. You can’t go off other’s experiences or what you see in TV or movies. Talking with a professional who is trained in helping people recover from addictions will be the most accurate way to get information. 

Have Your Own Support Team

Interacting with a person who has an addiction can have negative effects on you if you don’t have anyone to hold your own hand. Even when it would seem progress is being made towards recovery, you never really know when an addict might fall into their old ways, and that’ll be terrible for your own mental health.

Choose some close family and friends who know what is going on and their support will get you through this. In turn, their support will also help your loved one; in making you stronger, they’re making them stronger.

You might even want to consider finding a therapist for yourself. Having weekly therapy sessions can be necessary for your mental health when going through something so emotionally exhausting. Don’t neglect your own well-being, even if you think you might be fine. The fatigue can catch up to you. 

Make Plans

When you’re struggling with an addiction, it might be hard to see life beyond therapy and recovery. Make plans with your loved one about vacations and getaways they can look forward to post-treatment. Don’t let it seem as if their entire world is revolving around their addiction; remind them that there are still happy times to be had.

Depending on the severity of the person’s addiction, you might have to take stricter measures to ensure your loved one’s recovery and you will likely need the help of a trained professional. Never forget, though, that recovery is possible. Always be there for your loved one, but make sure to take care of yourself as well. For more information about addictions, visit an addiction treatment center.