Originally posted by stpbb:
But I'll always be one to give the drug-addicted, mentally-ill veteran on the corner a bottle of water & a sandwich when I have the opportunity. Because I think it is cruel to say it supports the system of his oppression to deal with his need today.

Call me a sucker, but I'm not gonna change.
dont think thats a sucker at all - I think that's a very noble trait - I'm like that too - and perhaps others think that I'm a sucker.. that I just didnt walk away from people in my life who were in pain and needed help.. however there were some of them I should have really walked away sooner as it all turned out crappy in the end and I could have saved myself a whole lot of time, energy and self respect.. but anyhow that's all water under the bridge now.

I totally agree that your situation is hard because you want to have compassion for the person but until they start cleaning up their act there's only so far you can go with respect to being in their lives. Sometimes the best thing you can do is "tough love" - sometimes NOT letting someone descend down towards "hitting their bottom" is just prolonging the situation. People need to "hit bottom" before they will actually get help. Some people destroy themselves before that. Others take a long time to hit bottom. Others not so long.

I had do the "tough love" thing with my dad when he was still drinking heavily in the early 1990's.. I just told him that he was ruining his life, he was seriously damaging mine (and I let him know that his behaviour had caused a whole lotta pain in my life) but I did tell him that if he wanted to keep on destroying his life then he could do it without me in his life (the turning point for me was when he got behind the wheel, drunk, with me in the car and just about killed us both. I was so fuckin mad at him that I didnt care what I I said...). I'd love to say that "fixed him" but in 2001 my dad attempted suicide for the third time and my mom and I after crying our eyes out for months, just came to the conclusion that "you cant ever really save anyone from themselves" - if they want to destroy themselves there is really nothing you can do. Hard words to accept about someone you love.. but what can you do?

Anyhow what I'm trying to say is that you can have compassion for someone but there is a line where you just have to "let them go" and deal with whatever happens in your own life after that. There is only so far that you can allow yourself to be "taken down" by their pain and misery.

Unfortunately for some people they have to keep losing and hurting themselves more to realize that they have a problem. People can only get better when they first acknowledge they have a problem and then want to get help for it. I think of my BF he went through 10 years of pain and loss and addiction before he got help. He lost friends, girlfriends, jobs, time, and a whole lotta self respect before he admitted he had a problem, and walked into a therapist's office. As far as my father? Who knows what the next curveball may be. Any new "life hurdle" could just send him spinning off into another episode of self destruction... but that's another story altogether.