The reality of how much time and thought you give to your family is of course in many ways a unique question that can only be answered by the individual themselves. The reason it is so important is because in a significant number of cases the amount of focus that an individual puts on the family is either determined by someone else or driven by a degree of guilt or expectation that is derived from outside themselves.

When talking about a family, it is perhaps of value to distinguish between a family of birth or a family that an individual grows up in, and a family that an individual makes for themselves of any nature.

The family that an individual makes for themselves is perhaps the easier one to answer the question for. Any individual who enters a relationship with another individual and perhaps has children and extended family as part of that will of necessity be taking on additional responsibilities that they themselves have chosen.

This sense of responsibility will inevitably determine how much thought and time the individual focuses on the family as a unit as opposed to their own life. The degree to which their own life becomes part of that of the family and other people can be done in a healthy way to varying degrees.

The second question of the family that the individual grows up in is a much more difficult and a much more complex one. There seems to often be a disturbing level of co-dependency exhibited in families and individuals where a lack of separation prohibits the individual from really taking forward their own life.

This is especially true in families where there is active alcoholism either in the individual themselves or in the parents or in the broader generational family. This co-dependency within families where active alcoholism and other types of addictions are prevalent is often seen as a key element in the underlying emotional drive that fuels an individuals need to drink or use drugs.

Of course any family can become disjointed, and as such restrict or block the natural healthy boundaries that should exist within a framework of healthy families or any of the individuals who have a common bond and linkage. It perhaps helps to clarify this type of problem by realising that the recovery process that takes place both within Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon places a heavy emphasis on the individual firstly clarifying their own life and their own boundaries before beginning to relate to other people and their lives.

It is really important in this context for the separate individuals to be engaged in this process, otherwise the nature of separation and establishing boundaries is effectively a one-way street. Whilst this is certainly possible for any individual, it can create feelings of guilt and selfishness in the individual who is establishing or trying to establish a healthy relationship within a family where the other family members are not so inclined.

In healthy families the amount of time and thought that an individual gives to that family is likely to be good whatever the commitment is, because it will be freely given rather than taken from them by an unhealthy environment.

Author's Bio: 

Peter Main is a freelance journalist and copywriter who writes extensively about all areas of self growth and self development. He has a particular focus on self help issues for people who are in recovery from or who have been affected by alcoholism and other addictions. Some people begin their journey of recovery and healing in a rehab, others in a twelve step fellowship such as Alcoholics Anonymous, some in rehabs in other states to where they live, where it is especially important to check the rehab is properly accredited, others in a religious or spiritual setting. He has worked in this field for just under thirty years and has extensive experience in many areas of different therapeutic approaches, including counselling, inner child work, meditation, spirituality, adult children work etc.