Family Visitation

Family visitation can be both a wonderful thing and an important opportunity.

But how so?  And in what ways?

Photo Credit:  Natalie Pedigo, Unsplash

Well, family visitation can help start the process of normalizing both the new that is special and also the new that is every-day and mundane.

Sometimes life is a little harder and a little more complicated than we imagine. And yet in the meanwhile, recovery resides within the slogan, “Easy does it.”

How can these apparent opposites apply to an individual’s recovery? And how can these also apply to the family system – to those closest to the newly recovering person?

It is said that the individual recovery of one person depends in part on the unity of the group they reside in. And this idea is normally thought of as pertaining to one’s recovery support group. But we can also apply that idea to the recovering person’s family system.

To help clarify this a bit, consider the following questions:

  • Do the members of the family system, and the person in early recovery, have an accurate and shared understanding of both individual and family recovery?
  • Have they each made a commitment to the recovery of the family system as a whole?
  • Are they each doing their new part in the new landscape of recovery for their own well-being?
  • And is the family system also working as one on the change processes related to the family system as a whole?

Early in the change process good intentions not wisely channeled can actually get in the way.  For example, in a family system we are in fact not each other’s Probation Officer or therapist.

  • Is each family member taking care of their own recovery as their top priority?
  • Or are some members of the family system mainly focusing on someone else and what someone else needs to do?

To help see the value of family visitation, it can be helpful to imagine it as it applies to other chronic problems or illnesses, like high blood pressure, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease.  “If it were any other disease” we would probably take the opportunity that family visitation provides.  Yes, we probably would visit a close loved one.

  • We would gladly want to know what changes we need to make for ourselves to support the wellbeing of our loved one.
  • And we would gladly want to know what changes to make at the level of the family system as a whole, to help promote individual and family recovery.

Showing up in today’s circumstances of sobriety and a shared interest in individual and family recovery can be a powerful starting place.  And showing up can communicate honesty, openness, willingness, and shared responsibility.  Yes, family visitation can be both a wonderful thing and an important opportunity.