The importance of free will is something that is certainly stressed in our culture. Independence is stressed above so much else. It certainly makes sense then that this is something that often comes into play for those struggling with addiction. I’ve talked to many addicts who, while they acknowledge their issues with drugs and alcohol, are also holding strongly to this idea that having free will means they can choose to continue using or not (usually meaning without help). This is certainly true, but seems to conveniently ignore the heart of addiction, it destroys lives. Yes it is your choice to use or not use, but choosing to use drugs or alcohol when struggling with addiction is not the same as choosing to work in the job you want, live in the city you want, be friends with who you want. When we are talking about addiction, lives are at risk.
Often, it seems that people struggling with addiction tend to hold on to this free will argument as a last ditch attempt to continue in their addiction. In other words, ignoring the health risks and stating that you have the free will to drink and use is often a reason to keep drinking and using when all other explanations have failed. Free will is not a bad thing in fact, it’s a wonderful thing, and we all have free will over what we put in our bodies however, I would urge anyone who is struggling with addiction to also consider whether there are other reasons they are continuing to drink and use.