I just got this question from a person on Facebook. This is what they wrote:
This is what I wrote:
This is a favorite topic of mine. I LOVE thinking about it. And I'm so sorry you are experiencing this in your family. It's brutally difficult.
This is what I tell people: Think of yourself as a life raft. You can only handle so many people. And if a person on the raft is stealing the food and water or trying to sink the raft or trying to hurt people on the raft: IT'S OK TO PUSH THEM OVERBOARD.
You can't save anyone if that person sinks the boat.
Pushing someone overboard is an analogy to kicking a person out of your house and your life. Sometimes you have to do it and it's ok. (It's not tough love. I don't believe that works most of the time. It's just survival.)
The sad part is that these people then have nowhere to go. The seriously mentally ill and extremely addicted people are the people I'm most drawn to. I love being with them and trying to figure out how to help them in some way. A tent is often the best you can do for a person like this. They'll destroy anything else. (They'll often destroy or burn down the tent too. But at least it's only $50 to buy another one.) I will now go to jail if I put one more tent on my private property. There is nowhere for these people to go.
That said, know this: Humans are astoundingly tough and resilient. It's incredibly difficult to kill a human by exposing them to the elements and removing regular food and water. We all have this in us. ALL OF US.
Your family member will be fine. If you have to let them go, let them go.