Family’s view-An Addict Must Choose (and Want to Change)
A helpful distinction in regards to choice has to do with family of an addict and their ability to cope with the perpetual state of toxicity. A family generally tries everything they can, often driving themselves to the point of exhaustion, financial distress, and instability sanity. Seeing somebody habitually making clearly irrational decisions can be unnerving, unbalancing, and for some not at all resolvable. Since life has this inherent nature of perpetual un-knowingness that we perpetually try to solve by living normal and rational lives, mixing with an addict and trying to reason them into sobriety can have a very destabilizing effect.
For families then there is a justifiable right, to leave someone that is completely unhelpable, in order to maintain stability in their own lives. We call this, “They have to want to change”. There are two parts to understanding this. For families it is a perfectly acceptable and rational stance, to reach out their hands and say, “When you are ready to change, we are here to help”. This allows for sanity to enter back into the family and peoples affected, and also is helpful upon hindsight if things to turn for the worse (ie not regretting tough love if a family member passes form addiction).
Reality-An Addict Can’t Choose Because Opiate Addiction Destroys Willpower (No One WANTS to be a Heroine Addict)
There will always be the corollary argument to this, that an addict cannot choose. I wish to make a specific point here that hopeful is not lost on anyone’s perspective. At SOME point if an addict is to have long term success, they MUST eventually take control over their own situation. Even with enough resources in the world, no external source is stronger than the individual will, whether for the good or the bad.
HOWEVER, in an opium addicts mind, the brain has been wired differently, the reference point has changed, and so in this realistic sense an addict with very little between them and their drug, and yet with a brain that puts out massive craving signals, we should never expect and addict to be able to ‘choose’ to stay clean.
Bridging (Historically) Opposing Viewpoints
The simple point here is that family is justified by saying the addict needs to choose, however, there is still some relevant points to be made about the external circumstances that could be set up to either facilitate or hinder ones chances of EFFECTIVELY choosing to get sober and stay sober.