How to Prepare When You’re The Only One- Part 1, by Patriotman

I think this article will resonate with many of the SurvivalBlog readership, because I suspect that many of us are in a similar situation of being the only one preparing. While some of you may be lucky to have complete buy-in and participation with prepping from your family or survival group, many others, like myself, may find that “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”. Before I speak about my experience with this issue and the steps I have taken to attempt to mitigate this, let me provide some background on myself as well as what the composition of the group looks like. The group is divided into two sections– family and fireteam. Each one of these groups is proving to have their own frustrations and issues with them. Just as a disclaimer, I am not affiliated with any sites or individuals mentioned in this article.

My Background

I am male and in my mid-20s living in a Mid-Atlantic occupied state, and I have a Masters of Science degree. I have been preparing since 2012 when I first read Mr. Rawles’ book How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It. I unfortunately still live at home while I bank money to simultaneously pay off some of my loans, save money for moving out (hopefully within the year), and purchase some preparedness supplies. I have set myself an absolute baseline of readiness that I am trying to achieve and will soon hit that baseline. This baseline is the bare minimum that I want to have in hand should a disaster occur. I am also working on practical skills as well and not just acquiring “stuff” – weapons manipulations and individual tactics, medical skills, fitness, and communications.

My beautiful girlfriend of nearly seven years is 100% bought into the concept of preparedness. She has become my main companion in the pursuit of these skills, which is such a blessing. The only downside is that the relationship is long distance at the moment, but that will hopefully change within the year. And if you are wondering, yes, it stinks, but it is worth it.

Family Group

There are 21 total members in my family that I am preparing for. “Twenty one!?! That’s insane!”, you may say. You aren’t wrong. These are the individuals that I cannot in good conscience turn away from my door in the event of a disaster. This consists of my siblings, their wives, and their wives’ immediate families. I could theoretically not count the families of the wives, but that would just be deluding myself into denying reality once the SHTF. The family group is who I am primarily preparing for. As such, they are factored into my calculations on food/water, medical supplies, equipment, et cetera.

For the family group, I have a wide range of buy-in. About a quarter see the coming storm and are supporters of my endeavor. Another quarter are peripherally aware but have some life events occurring that make it difficult to have the issue front and center in their lives. The other half are the proverbial “ostrich with their head in the sand” and are not invested at all into the concept.

Fireteam Group

Through my church, I am blessed to have made friends with several families of fellow Christian conservatives. These families all have a retired LEO as the head of the household and are relatively compact in their size. This group is approximately 21 individuals as well. For this group, I am not concerned with storing food/water or medical supplies. As I see it, that is their family’s responsibility to do. The fireteam group is a lovely addition to my preparedness plans but not an absolute necessity.

For the fireteam group, I would estimate that half of them are very supportive of the concept of prepping. The other half are indifferent and/or slightly supportive.

The Problem

The problem is something I mentioned earlier that we all have probably experienced. It is “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”. In other words, while I have tacit support for the idea of preparedness, getting anyone to do anything is a completely different story. Let me explain in detail the issue for each group.

I Got 99 Problems, and the Family Group is 98 of Them

Main Family Issue- Inexperience with Firearms

For the family group, my main issue is that (aside from my girlfriend and me) none of the 19 other individuals in the group have experience with firearms. This makes it very difficult from a security and force projection standpoint. Not only does the group not own any guns, they don’t really know how to use one. Forget working on weapons manipulations, assembly/ disassembly, or small unit tactics. I can’t even get them to the range to fire the guns for the first or second time ever!

Lack of Contribution For Supplies

When it comes to storing supplies and purchasing equipment, I only have one sibling (a brother of mine) who has offered to provide money for those supplies. They all like to joke about “finding me” when the SHTF, but none of them have offered to contribute. While some may suggest that I just say “leave them”, let me reiterate this is family and I cannot in good conscience turn immediate family away during a crisis.

Lack of Useful Practical Skills For Survival

Most don’t have useful practical skills for survival. Their backgrounds are not in any hard skills but mostly academic. They are mainly teachers. This may work great if we bug out to a town establishing a school where people are willing to trade supplies for knowledge, but it is not useful in most other scenarios.

Questionable Physical Fitness

The physical fitness of most of the family is questionable, at best. While one sibling does run marathons and lift and some others aren’t overweight, the vast majority are not in the best physical conditions.

Girlfriend’s Distant Family With No Preparedness Tendencies

On my girlfriend’s side, her family lives a few states away and have no preparedness tendencies. On a scale from 1 to 10, they would be a -3 (negative 3). Figuring out how to transport her family to my location is a thorny logistics issue.

Absent Communications Skills and Equipment

No one has any Ham radio or communication experience or skills. There is also no Ham radio or similar communications equipment within this group.

Whew! Sounds like I am messed over, eh? It certainly feels that way sometimes. It has caused me to despair and feel a sense of hopelessness about the situation. It doesn’t get much better when we look at the fireteam as well.

Fireteam or a Burning Trash Heap?

Biggest Fireteam Issue

The biggest issue that exists with the fireteam group is, once again, getting them to do anything. They all have at least some firearm experience, either through their LEO background or range trips we have taken together. However, they lack either the time or the fitness (common theme) to work on more in-depth topics related to security, such as fireteam drills or small unit tactics. While this may not be a problem if the fighting takes place from a fixed fighting position, it certainly becomes an issue when trying to establish a more robust and proactive security force (a la John Mosby’s Reluctant Partisan, which I cannot recommend enough).

Preparation Acquisition

I am not sure if they have actually taken any steps in the areas of medical preparations or food and water acquisition and storage. This is their biggest Achilles heel and my main area of concern with them. I am already taking care of the food for 21 people. I refuse to add another 21 to that without some kind of monetary help. I simply cannot afford to do so.

Walking the Walk

I have wonderful discussions with the fireteam about the concepts of prepping and the need to do so, but getting them to “walk the walk” is so incredibly hard. They have a fantastic set of skills between them all, as the group includes an electrician, plumbing, carpenter, home health aide, et cetera. But they’re just simply not doing the things they need to do to prepare. I don’t want to lose them from the group but will absolutely have to if the SHTF and they are expecting the food I am stockpiling to feed them as well.

Absent Radio and Communications Experience

None of the team has any radio or comms experience either. And none of them seem very motivated to study for and complete their test for their Ham license.

So, I’ve laid out my problems here in Part 1. In Part 2, I will begin to share how I decided to overcome my problems and specific preparedness steps taken.

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

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  1. You raise some great points about overall family preparedness. It really says something about your character when you lay in plans for someone else even when that family member refuses to take action. Many preppers have the opposite opinion.

    I myself have thought a lot about this subject. As a Christian it is important we take care of our loved ones, but I worry that it will be at the detriment of my own families well being. I feel I have a responsibility to my own children and wife above all. I have casually mentioned the need to all my immediate family, but unfortunately they all have ignored the need. Very, very few people make any preparations at all.

    I think in a full blown TEOTWAWKI situation much of these issues will sort themselves out for many of the reasons you pointed out (lack of firearms training will leave people vulnerable, poor health will cause premature death, etc), but it is still one of my biggest concerns. Looking forward to your insight in part 2.

    1. Thank you for your article. My experience has been that many people do not get “prepared” until an event that makes them aware of the problem. In my case, this past year of natural disasters has been a wake up call to the family. While we have been prepping for the past seven years, we were impacted by the Thomas Fire and mudslide. Sadly, we learned the hard truth, that you cannot predict what will happen. The lesson was that if you are in the direct path of the “disaster,” you cannot prepare for the destruction. A good book that I recommend is “The Unthinkable.” It is worth the read and I think people need to understand that there are many components to disasters and preparing is only one of the elements.

  2. I would think the most important thing would be to get out of his parents house and on his own. He says he is paying off bills but the money he is spending on his preps for 21 people might be better used to start his own future. If he is depending on his parents to provide housing for him, how does he really expect to take care of others?

  3. My .02, cull the herd. At 22 counting yourself, you’re already discovering that the vast majority will be shiftless when/if the time comes. There’s a reason the Hippie Communes of the 60’s-70’s failed, and you’re setting yourself up for that. Recognize that you CANNOT save everyone (a nice thought, but it just doesn’t work that way). Trim your numbers down to those who will help you and themselves. Think of it like this: your goal should be to move out of your parents home, hopefully to a rural property that can double as a group retreat, that you can stock with necessary stores until you are able to develop the property into a self-sustaining producer of what you need to survive hard times. Every time you buy storage food for someone who will not help you and is not on the same page, you do so at the expense of obtaining that retreat, or you fail to fill a hole in your defense or medical or power production or whatever preps, and for what, exactly? You have to prepare for yourself before you can prepare for others. “Remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye”

    Matthew 7:5

    1. Or in secular terms: “In case of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks above your seat will deploy, please place the mask first and then assist your child or other passengers”….

      1. Have tried that with a female friend who said she would rather die and kill her children than put on the mask and save them all.
        Patriotman the next time they say they will”come find you” ask them “why?” and tell them you may have a poncho or some matches for them but nothing else. Ant and grasshopper story,lead a horse to water etc.

    2. Jason offers sound advice in my opinion. Set aside a percentage of preps for charity, be they neighbors or family grasshoppers. Think in terms of ages and numbers and not specific people. Either way you will be in an awesome position to help others.

  4. Hey Patriotman, if the Mid-Atlantic occupied state you’re referencing happens to border a certain swamp maybe we could network. Let me know if you’re interested here and I’ll find a way to get you my email without posting it for the world to see.

    1. Hi Paul. I too am bordered by swampland. Glad to hear it am not the only reader in the area. Would be interested in chatting as well. If you are open, let’s talk. Hunkajunk.

  5. Why prepare for societal collapse when you can’t manage life under normal conditions? Do yourself a favor and go join the Army. They will help with student loans, pay you a wage and give you all the lifestyle discipline and tactical training you can choke down. PS, unless you have a wife or kids you aren’t responsible for any of those other slackers.
    -Regards, the Wizard

  6. Patriotman,

    You say that you have reached your “absolute base line” of readiness, but you do not say what that is. Three months? Six months? A year?

    Let’s say that it is a year you are prepared for. One year, two people?

    In your ardor concerning the subject, I expect that you, like most preppers/survivalists have made your efforts/interest known to other family members and friends. And, as with most preppers/survivalists, you were met with a lack of interest by the vast majority of them. Should a massive societal meltdown occur, however, you will find that you will be the “go to guy” for these same relatives and friends. For many of them, you will be their “new best friend.”

    While your concern for these people is commendable on one level, you are making a big mistake. While you could be getting out of your parents’ home and buying a retreat, much less a simple home for your immediate family and providing for your kids college education (i.e., getting a life), if your financial situation is similar to most “20 somethings,” you will likely be spending every last dollar you earn to provide preps for your 2nd cousins and their in-laws.

    From the background you’ve described, most of these relatives and friends will never make any contribution to your preparations in advance of need, and, unfortunately, most will still be of no help after the need arises. They will be consumers, not contributors.

    It very much sounds to me as if you are engaged in a romantic, Quixotic quest to save the world, or at least your little part of it. In a harsh TEOTWAWKI scenario, idealism should and does have its limits. By attempting to provide for all, you are highly likely to provide for none.

    You say that you are “blessed to have made friends with several families of Christian conservatives.” If so, I am sure that both you and they are familiar with the Serenity Prayer:

    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    Courage to change the things I can,
    And wisdom to know the difference.

    1. Look up the full Serenity Prayer. Most people only know the first three lines. It is profoundly Christian, and was written by a minister.

      I once put it up in the hallway of the building where I work, which has other “wisdom” notices on the wall. An atheist down the hall, who would have been fine with the short version, chewed me out and tore it down.

        1. Since my beliefs are valid, and hers were not, I couldn’t say that. That’s how we got into this mess to start with. If all beliefs are to be treated as equally valid, then yes, Satanists can (and do) have Satan clubs in elementary schools.

          Have you seen the videos of the Gotthard Tunnel opening ceremonies in Switzerland in 2016? Try youtube. And make sure the children are not there. They are diabolic. With all the leaders of Europe present, watching.

          On an earthly level, the war is already over, and we would appear to have lost. Of course, that is not really the case, but on an earthly level…look at the opening ceremonies. And who is there.

  7. Patriotman: if you continue down the road you have outlined…you are toast! Cull that group down to no more than five – easier said than done, I know, but do you want five people to survive or have 22 dead people?

  8. You have courage, I’ll grant you that.
    But you haven’t learned the most important thing about survival yet.
    Namely, you have to learn to sever ties with all those useless family members who won’t or can’t contribute.
    They will get you killed.

    Allow no one into the group that cannot/will not contribute to it.
    Best of luck.

  9. Good thoughts and intent Patriotman. I wrote the following advice but upon rereading, see it sounds very critical. And it is, but it’s factual and given to you because I care about your success.

    Your first responsibility is your relationship with God Almighty. If you have a good one, then you’ll gain the wisdom to avoid unequal yokes. People who don’t take provision for basic life support will become catastrophic disasters in your inner group or circle. By your description they are too self centered and blissfully happy , wallowing in unconcern. Danger, Will Robinson.

    My buddies speak of layers of onions. Those people you described are in our outer layers. Not the inner layer. The ones in my inner layer are the quiet preppers who prepare and do the activities You listed as desirable.

    You can love someone (family members) enough to care about them but don’t be so egomaniacal as to either think you can shape their behaviour to the needed standard, or that you can provide for their lives. Focus on your girlfriend and that relationship. But seriously, I question your commitment and judgement to her. If she is as good as you say, you should have been married long ago. Reassess yourself.

    I know people who are good with guns and tactics. Maybe too good. Guns kill and I have mine and regularly train. But they don’t directly provide life support, unless you ascribe to deadly behaviour which in itself leads quickly to death.

    You need to network with small farmers. They are who you should fall into place with. Again, seriously. Get to know some. Build relationships. You can offer them friendship and support, and they universally welcome a bit of donated labor. Most small farmers have the assets for LT subsistence but never enough labor to be successful. Be prepared to be rebuffed by the actual prepper farmers. They know how big a target they are, but will make your best host in SHTF.

    Meanwhile, join a local Ham radio club. They are wonderfully gregarious and generous. Both in time and equipment. They’ve even given me three good used radios.

    I encourage you to continue encouraging others. We need to build a prepared and resilient society. Thank you so much for the time and effort to share with us here.

    Best wishes and may God Bless you.

  10. Buy your own land. Begin your own journey. Learn to grow you own food, heat with firewood you cut and perfect your retreat as best possible. If relatives show up at your door be sure to plow a garden space for them to grow their own food, letting them know you cannot grow enough for all. Several of my grandchildren will spend the coming weekend with me. I have tomato seedlings ready to repot. They will help me, they don’t see it as work but fun. Through the summer they love going to the garden and reaping the rewards of the garden.That would be something similar for you to do with relatives and friends at your retreat, teaching them to be independent in small bits and pieces. You will be able to sort the keepers and ones who will only drag you down.

  11. The single most difficult task in a “mass casualty incident” is triage. Selecting those person(s) whom will survive to reach aid, and those that will not. Then accepting the fact, as a previous comment stated, “you cannot save them all”, and move to save those you can. Above all else, you must save yourself first, because only then can you carry hope to those that can be saved.

    Being prepared is almost entirely a mindset first, followed by actionable behaviors. Blind denial of reality, a terrible mindset so prevalent in our current society, could be considered “indirect fire” or something that with enough time, will kill you. As the old saying goes “You have life, fire, and health insurance, so why not “something bad happened” insurance?

    You are to be commended for your diligent efforts to advance the preparation of your family and fireteam, but a hard look will tell you that you are spread too thin, so thin that your ability to protect and defend yourself is called into question. You should not be faulted for your innate desire to render aid, but ask yourself under what circumstances can you render aid, if you are fighting for your own life?

    Triage, or as others have commented “reducing your ties” to those that cannot overcome their denial of reality, is difficult. Would you be willing to spread your limited financial capabilities across your extended family, to help them pay for life, auto, home and fire insurance? Probably not, and yet they by their inaction, are making an implicit long-term demand on your SHTF insurance, i.e. “We’ll just come stay with you if it gets bad”.

    I wish you the very best of luck, both with encouraging and teaching your extended family and fireteam. Think long and hard about just what is possible versus what is desirable, and I suspect you shall find a middle ground that is survivable.

  12. Keep doing what you can Patriotman. I am also doing for a large group (25 including the pets). It is hard, one son has been trying to get his 2 children away from the psycho ex so he isn’t able to help as much as he would like due to lawyer bills,5 lawyers over the last 8 years because the ex keeps moving from state to state. Other son and DIL started a couple of years ago but it’s difficult because of low income and a child that has medical issues. My hubs keeps telling me “Nothing’s going to happen AND the Government won’t let anything happen” Yeah right! But thankfully he doesn’t stop me from stocking up (or hollering too loud LOL)
    Hubs 3 single sibs, his brother and his family of 7 are included in my group.He lost a brother due to diabetes and took it extremely hard SO I won’t be turning them away as I will NOT do that to my hubs!! My 2 cats and the grand-chinchilla are also included it the preps. Before anyone says anything the cats are rescues and son 2 rescued the chinchilla from a roommate who was mistreating it when he was in last year of college. The little bugger is still going strong after 12 years, the vet thinks we have some special aptitude for keeping pets alive. All of our pets have gone on to live very long lives.

  13. Oh Patriotman, I admire your enthusiasm and envy your energy and idealism– the gifts of youth are fleeting so enjoy them while you can. Please understand that while some of the comments you get may seem harsh, most are coming from a place of experience and the accumulated wisdom of lessons learned the hard way.
    People come to this from so many different directions that generalizations are often misleading so let me speak only for myself here.
    When I finally woke up, I fell immediately and enthusiastically into the “The Sky is Falling RIGHT NOW and I am not ready!!!” school of thought. It seems like that may where you are and those thoughts may be guiding you at this point.
    This “prepper panic” resulted in a lot of poor decisions, silly purchases and night terrors.
    I was quite a bit older and more established at that point than you are right now, so once I calmed down and found my feet again my path forward was a bit different than your will likely be but…
    First: The sky is not falling right now. It may be listing a bit, but it is not coming down this very minute so step back and breathe. If I am wrong and it is, it is too late to do anything anyway.
    Second: The best way to prepare for those you love is to build a sustainable life for YOURSELF. The key part of that is the LIFE part. Your first step needs to be to LIVE your life. You are young and in transition right now and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Work through it. Find a job with room to grow and learn if you don’t already have one. Pay off your debts and if your girlfriend is “the one”, marry her and rent or (if you can swing it) buy a small home in as rural an area as you can find that still allows you both to work. Live frugally while still enjoying your life. Save for what is important to you both.
    Learn together, garden together, build up your supplies for the safety and security of your small family and set aside extras as you can afford to. LIVE! Raise children, raise chickens, raise dogs, raise your hearts up and be thankful for what you are building. LIVE!
    Get to know your neighbors and learn from them. Help them when you can and ask for their help when you are in need.
    Share your love and what you are learning with your larger family and hers. Show them your joy in living close to the land and taking responsibility for your own needs. Maybe your example will inspire them, maybe it won’t. That is, in the end, their decision not yours.
    If the sky falls sometime while you are doing all of that, you will be far better suited to lend a helping hand. If the sky does not fall, you will have built a life with those you love that you can enjoy and you will have proven to yourself that you can do it all.
    I know, I’m a busybody and some (many) may disagree with what I have said. Just know that it is from the heart. I am not suggesting that you stop prepping, just maybe rethink your path from here to there…
    Grey Woman

  14. One last thought about your fantasy: having made your interest known to so many friends and relatives, you will now be faced with who knows how many people showing up at your door who will have brought only a knife, a fork, and an empty stomach. As they say, “You can’t push a rope.” So many of the people you have described fall in the rope class.

    Perhaps I am wrong. Maybe you will do extraordinarily well in the next couple of years and maybe you will be able to share your largesse with others. If so, that is commendable, but I strongly believe that you are living in a prepper’s fantasy: “Patriotman Saves the World.”

    First things first. Get a life. Get out of your parents house. Get your own place. Get married. Start a family. Then provide for your own family’s basic day-to-day needs. After you have established a solid footing, then make serious plans for the end of the world as we know it. Until then you will be ignoring your most basic obligations.

    1. THIS↑ (+100 survivormann99)

      First, let me commend you on taking the initiative to begin your prepping at such a young age. Your article reminds me of myself in the early days of my “awakening”. I look forward to the next installments chronicling your journey.
      With that being said, please keep the following advice in mind while proceeding down this path:
      Do not allow yourself to be consumed by the thoughts or fear of some impending cataclysmic event; especially at your age.
      There are people on this blog, and others like it, that have been prepping since before you were born or even set foot in elementary school. Yet, here we are, still waiting. Marry that wonderful woman that has stood by your side for seven years, travel the world, build a house, have kids, or whatever your heart desires. There is no one, I repeat, NO ONE, that knows with any certainty if, when, where, or to what extent anything will happen. Prepping should be a part of your life. It should not BE your life.

      I agree with almost all of the other comments concerning your family and OPSEC. I have family members that I wouldn’t walk across the street to pee on their leg if it was on fire, but I have friends that I would die for. Survival is a personal thing. You may have family members that don’t want to survive after the collapse of civilization and they would only be a burden to you, your attempts to maintain order, and your precious supplies. That’s something you will have to commit a great amount of prayer and thought to. Keep up the good work.

  15. Buy your retreat and perfect it as best possible. Learn to grow your own food, cut your own firewood to heat your home, for starters. If family members in need show up at your door be sure to plow a garden for them, letting them know you cannot provide for all. I will have several grandchildren at my home this weekend. I have seedling tomato plants ready for repotting. They will help with repotting and they always enjoy running to the garden during summer to reap the rewards of their work. That could be something you could do with friends and relatives, teaching them independence in little bits and pieces. This will also show who you can depend on when times get tough and who you don’t want around! And by the way, one of my granddaughters brought in 24 pieces of small firewood through the walk-out basement door and left it near my wood stove this past weekend, all without asking her. She was so proud and I was too. That is the type person you want around when the time comes.

  16. For a quick and revealing lesson watch an original episode of the Twilight Zone called, The Shelter. You will learn a lot about trying to prepare and the consequences of letting too many people know what you are doing, and what you have done.
    OPSEC is of enormous importance. The old WWII adage was Loose Lips, Sink Ships.
    More simply put, keep your mouth shut and don’t tell anyone but you long time girlfriend what is going on. Tell everyone else you have come to your senses and stopped preparing.
    Keep preparing and keep it quiet, or risk loosing everything.
    Unless there is a small group of people you can trust, you need to realize the more people you tell, the more people they tell, which means sooner or later even people you don’t you will be saying, “hey, I hear your are preparing for tough times, what do you have?”
    Not good…

    1. OldSourdough…couldn’t agree more. Your comment really hit the nail on the head. His 21 will become 121 before he can blink. Each family member has extended family themselves and friends they care about and if he told them, who did they tell that they care about? Will he have the fortitude to say “What did you bring?(food, skills, preps, etc.) and then they say “Just us.” will he be able to say “Sorry”? Has he just made an enemy he must now worry about? His initial caring has now become a somewhat insurmountable burden. Seems like the most important word he needed to really understand has been missed. OPSEC OPSEC OPSEC At least his heart is in a good place.

  17. I don’t know your financial situation so I can only give general advice. Living at home & paying off debt is admirable: BUT:

    Build a 6-12 month reserve of savings based on (outside of parents expenses – Housing, food, utilities, taxes, insurance, etc). If you’ve done that, give yourself a realistic deadline of when you will move to your own place. If possible buy, don’t rent. Everyone starts by walking, before your run – but start.

    I agree with others about OPSEC. ‘Nuff said.

    When people say, “we don’t need to prep, we’re coming to your place” TOUGH LOVE is required. Respond, “while I love you, and want you to do well, you need to do for yourself first. You’re welcome to come, but if you come, bring your own food, firearms, ammo, SKILLS, clothes, meds, fitness, cleaning supplies, work ethic, etc, otherwise, you will not be welcome & WILL be turned away. “We won’t be providing anything, except emergency shelter, community, and guidance. I have a list of the bare minimum you will be required to bring with you, and an equal amount for each of your relatives. It’s not my job to provide for you or all of your kin. You will be expected to pitch in! Count on losing weight from work & chores from the moment you arrive. I’m happy to help those who help themselves. All others should keep on walking/driving. NO exceptions! (by the way – I told my sister, her husband, her daughter/son in law and their 3 kids this very thing. They complained at first but amazingly, they started planning for themselves, albeit grudgingly.) You may think this is harsh, but it’s better than your only other options (i.e. read One Second After- Forstchen). This is non-negotiable! ”

    You’ll be amazed how this sobers up the ‘freeloaders’!

    I hope this doesn’t come across as too harsh. You are to be commended. You are worlds ahead of most your age just by thinking and acting on becoming more self reliant! Keep on building your skills and prepping.

    Hang in there! You’re on the right track!

    1. Patriotman, I’ve dealt with those same issues for many years. Seymour Liberty, you’ve got a realistic approach. My father grew up during Depression and passed those experiences on to me. I was a fire/medic in L.A., retired LEO in bay area (Calif.). I’ve experienced major fires, quakes, and riots. I’ve been a prepper since ’78 quake in L.A., and have stayed that way as my family changed & grew. I’m retired in a small suburb (by Ca. standards) city on north of SF bay. My 2 step daughters, husbands, & 5 G-kids are good, hard working people, and agree that prep is good, but have minimal involvement in it. For some, the thought of disaster has a very depressing vibe. My neighbors of many years who fail to heed my advice always say “coming to your house” as well, where I immediately set them straight. So, I plan for my large family who all live in my town. Food, water, medical, firearms, communications, etc. I can’t change them, so work around it, and they all have important skills to contribute, carpenter, RN, electrician, gardener, and can quickly adapt to situational needs. It helps to have an operational plan for basic scenarios, that they all have a copy of, with the primary plan of getting all together at my house. Also have temporary relocation plan when the nearby oil refinery has occasional fires. While some may say I enable them and they rely on me to do the prepping, reducing their motivation, I have no “useless eaters” in my family.They all can & will adapt readily to the situational needs. Can’t do more than that, and that’s where strong faith & moral guidelines help “make do”. My immediate family count is 12 members.

  18. Looks like some Al-anon classes might be in order, if your family is not on board now they will drag you down later; the skills to survive short or long term take planning and commitment. Keep moving forward and the right people will be placed before you
    Good luck to you

  19. Patriotman, you are to be commended for your spirit and your compassion. However, it is likely that most of your 21 family members will be part of a massive die-off before reaching your safe space. I have given up on prepping for my family. Every effort I made to give them a starter kit was rebuffed and belittled. I hope you have better luck.

  20. Long ago I had similar thoughts about covering all the bases with some extended family. After a couple of years with not being able to get anyone other than my son’s and their wives into the prepped frame of mind I put some serious thought into what I really wanted to accomplish. The boys and I decided we were going to stop “recruiting”. Now some of the extended family no longer have access to all parts of house, barn, or sheds. My reply when I get asked about preps I usually give a vague reply such as ” A little here, a little there” and never admit any specifics and change the subject . I still get the usual comment about “we’re coming to your house if anything happens”. One of the things I have learned from S B is how to respond to that remark. I look them directly in the and say in a very pointed and direct voice ” If you do you had better have a weapon for each person with you and 1000 rounds for it and a six month supply of food and meds for every one you bring”. If they show up empty handed, will I turn them away? I don’t know?? Sometimes the pointed remark will cause raised eyebrows but usually they just laugh. It is a question I try to answer with much thought and even more prayer.

    1. I like an SB response to “we’ll be coming to your house” that was posted a while back.

      The response is: “You are welcome to come, as long as you say the password.”

      Relative: “What is the password?”

      Response: “We brought food!”

      Sometimes the best way to get a point across is a joke.

  21. Email them a link to your article and see what they all say afterward. the post about joining the army and paying off some debt was good advice.You could pick a support role that doesn’t involve combat.

  22. Best advice I can think of..
    1.) move out.
    2.) marry your lady of seven years.
    3.) create a new group or network

    If your family and friends don’t want to encourage and help you, then don’t make them a priority.
    Family is Christians working together doing Gods work.
    Move away from them.
    The good ones will follow you or at least get on board.
    The best thing I ever did to cull the herd of my friends and drop some useless weight was delete about half the numbers in my phone, delete social media, and stop going to Friday poker night.
    Worked great and the good ones remained close friends.
    Work, work, work, up till the crunch happens and then comes more work… Until the king Returns!
    Be encouraged!
    Open invitation if you get down near the Tennessee/Alabama/Georgia region!

  23. Patriotman: Looks like you have been thoroughly counseled. Hope most of it is premature! Very interested to see what you have come up with in Part 2 & 3 but here is two cents worth anyway. Sounds like you don’t have a fire team or a survival group, just some people you want to be a group. At this point if you really can’t leave any of them on their own I guess you’ll have to hope for a slow motion collapse that allows them time to change and you time to train if they do. If that is a plan concentrate on preps that would enable them to learn skills after they’ve had that change of heart and mind. Meanwhile don’t let them believe you are storing food & supplies for them; that could certainly dull their motivation.

  24. “My beautiful girlfriend of nearly seven years is 100% bought into the concept of preparedness.”

    Marry her. Do it before this freakshow (masquerading as a society) bans marriage between a man and a woman.

  25. I use to feel the same abt saving my family n my daughters in law family n this person n that person n that person n I wld get anxiety n cldnt do n e thg, lol. But then I wld hear “oh that’s not gna happen” when I wld try talking to them or tell them just get n extra can of food n it will add up. I tell them that, ” it’s gna b hard to watch ur kids starve n get water” I hv even given them barrels n there they sit years later. One even cut it in half to fill up with water for his animals! Finally I just had to tell myself that my immediate family members with whom I deem to be my children, spouses n grandkids is all I can really n truly care for no matter how much I wld like to help out, they come first. N e one else has to bring something to the table coz my hands r full n the funds r low. And that’s the honest reality. I still get anxiety but got me prayer helps me to calm down. Thank you for the article.

  26. One of the hardest things in the world to accept is”triage”… it has been stated “YOU” can’t save “EVERYONE”!!! Especially if they don’t wish to be SAVED. Think of it this way, if you KNEW you could save yourself and your girlfriend and maybe a few others and you also KNEW if you tried to save the entire tribe “all would die”, what would your choice be? Save the small nucleus, build from there, through your effort, those that are to “see the light” will see your candle.

  27. 1 Timothy 5:8 King James Version (KJV)

    8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

  28. I love the Don Quixote reference. Sounds like this wipper-snapper is jousting with windmills.

    Take decisive action in your life, and don’t look back. It might be 150 years old, but the old adage about ‘taking a horse to water’ applies here. If they don’t care, you need to let it go. Reverse course on your ‘recruitment’, and coyly let them know that you are ‘over your prepping phase.’

    Anyone who responds with a WTF type response might be let into the new group. You can plan for a few care packages, but seriously, if you are going to ride it out in your mom’s basement, you have bigger challenges than hungry moochers.

    I don’t want to attempt to play Dave Ramsey for you, but your financial foundation doesn’t appear to exist. Where are you storing ‘baseline’ levels of food for 22 people? If this baseline consists of more than bags of rice and beans lining mom’s basement walls, it takes a massive amount of room.

    More questions than answers with data provided.

    TL/TR: You have to do you. Get yourself squared away, then worry about a second, mom and dad (sounds like they’ve hooked you up pretty well so far), then as resources permit, add to your circle. Telling people you have a storage unit of food is bad business.

    1. BD Good reference. From what I read, should The Schumer Hit The Fan he only needs to provide for his Parents, since he said his siblings and their wives, I assume he only has Brothers and if so they are responsible for providing for their own families, or they are then worse than an Infidel. Trekker Out

    2. What is so amazing is that in one short sentence, it puts our hearts and minds at ease regarding this difficult question. In a SHTF scenario, I will do my best to help any ant that has fallen on hard times. Grasshoppers however, are on their own.

  29. Patriotman:
    I wonder if I should wait until I have read part three, but I want to say how GOOD this piece is!
    I would like to say, although it would be hard, ANY family member who rubbishes your preparations should not benefit from them…
    God bless.

  30. Nice to see so many comments. I was a little disappointed after reading the title. I thought he meant preparing when you are literally alone. I’ve often wondered how a single person could handle all the chores, standing watch, etc when they are truly alone.
    Other than that, I agree with several comments on getting your non TEOTWAWKI life in order first. The chances of collapse are real but slim. Live life and get financially independent first.

  31. Instead of “culling” the majority, evaluate each person for what they may provide in a worst case scenario. IE; Get the women interested in gardening and canning. Men into having tools on hand for repair work or carpentry. If someone is too far gone physically and mentally they are a liability. Its not all about security with firearms, its about self sufficiency and networking to accomplish tasks among yourselves.

  32. As EdM points out, you cannot save everyone. When you get your own place move far away. It would be great if none of your unmotivated family knew where to find you because every one of them will tell a hundred people that you have preps. Many readers here have offered you valuable information. Anything you do now will pay off big-time when tough times hit. I have a ton of rice stored to share. If cousin Tom says he doesn’t like rice I’ll tell him he should have put aside food he liked.

  33. I liked your article and can relate in many ways….

    But the question you must ask, and I mean deep down ask-

    “If they aren’t willing to do it now, what makes you think they will do it when the time comes? If they are fighting you already on it, what makes you think you can lead them out of the darkness when the lights go out?”

    Like others have said, culling the herd might be a option or view as extreme, if they aren’t in shape now; who says they will survive the trip to your location?

  34. A Test. If these dear friends are throwing you under the bus now ; do you think that when their whole world of comfort has just vanished; they are frightened; the only thing that they really want is what was just lost; these dear friends will rationalize any behavior even stealing from you because they cannot accept their humpty dumpty cannot be put back together again; BEWARE; Learn the lesson and understand the love that you may have is honorable; But because you love someone does NOT mean that you are safe from the love that friend has for himself; I was shocked when this happened to me; as a man thinks so is he; the rain falls on the just and the unjust but it is up to you to put a roof over your own head and have the sense to get in out of the rain; a good church is good way to help others as a group but protecting yourself; give food to ministries; give clothes to charities; build wheelchair ramps for the poor; Be prepared; remember that before troubles begin; Sheep and Wolves eat different food and you can use your BRAINS now to figure out the food chain so that you can survive.

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