A fascinating article by William White describing the way choice relates to addiction treatment.
The article touches on factors which have tended to marginalize choice including an emphasis on the neurobiological: “Based on the work of Volkov and other scientists, one could posit addiction as a disease of the will marked by a progressive loss of volitional control over AOD use and related decision-making. Unfortunately, work to date reveals very little about the neurobiology of recovery.”
The articles calls out the phenomenon of spontaneous remission as part of the wide variety of existing options: “There is also growing scientific evidence that many people resolve AOD problems without professional or peer assistance (Cunningham, Sobell, Sobell, et al, 1995; Granfield & Cloud, 1995). Today, individuals and families seeking help have choices that vary widely in setting, philosophy, service elements, service personnel, and costs.”
White sees choice as a foundational aspect of recovery: “One of the most important arenas of choice within addiction treatment involves broad frameworks of recovery. The choice philosophy is based first on the recognition of multiple (secular, spiritual, and religious) pathways and styles of long-term recovery and the recognition of the right of each person to select a pathway and style of recovery that represents their personal and aspirational values.”
Choice, White tells us, is not merely a “nice-to-have,” but is vital: “…long-term recovery is not possible without choice. If there is no rehabilitation of the power to choose and encouragement of choice, we are left with, not sustainable recovery, but superficial treatment compliance.”