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Choice Model

Finding out about the different models of addiction is crucial to your choice of alcohol rehab centre because different centres have their own preferred model. The choice model was developed by Dr. William Glasser, and generally states that alcohol addiction is a choice, and rejects the “disease” concept employed by the 12 step program. Many alcohol rehab centres employ this model, so learning about it can help you decide whether these centres are suitable for you or your loved one.

The choice model of addiction is based on the idea that taking alcohols is a choice, not a disease resulting from a genetic predisposition. People take alcohols because they choose to, whether it is because of a lack of will power or poor moral fibre, the decision is made by them, as opposed to being forced upon them. This is more difficult to accept than the disease model, because it essentially places blame on the individual, rather than allowing them to protect themselves with the idea of powerlessness.

There are five basic needs identified by the choice model, and the proponents of the theory believe that these drive all of people’s behaviour. These five basic needs are power, freedom, fun, survival and love and belonging. If a specific behaviour satisfies these needs, a person will be inclined to do it, but the theorists still believe there is a conscious choice for almost all decisions. Relationships with other people are vital to the choice model, and it states that most psychological issues are a result of problematic relationships. They claim problematic relationships cause issues such as crime, failure in school and alcohol addiction.

The choice model states that all behaviour is made up of four separate components, acting, thinking, feeling and physiology. Out of these, the individual only controls the acting and thinking, and the feeling and physiology change as a result of modifying them. This accounts for the changes in the brain’s physiology resulting from alcohol use. After somebody chooses to take alcohols, the decision impacts their brain, changing how it functions and causing physical dependence. This change causes a physical need for the alcohol, and good feelings when this craving is met.

The cycle of addiction was kicked into action through choice, but then it becomes more and more difficult as the feelings and physiology change. If a alcohol rehab centre uses the choice model, it has to focus on the aspects of behaviour that a person can change: acting and thinking. The treatment focuses on how a person thinks about alcohols, and works towards controlling their actions. After a while, the physical and emotional influences on their behaviour will change to suit.

Interpersonal relationships are another key component of choice model alcohol rehab centres. Developing friendships, being respected by other people and sharing creates a more positive outlook, which (along with additional counselling) leads to a more empowered attitude towards addiction. Choice theory places the control firmly in the person’s own hands, and can therefore have a profound influence on self-confidence and self-efficacy which carries over into other parts of the person’s life.

If you are choosing between different alcohol rehab centres for yourself or a loved one, considering the model of addiction they employ is important. You should learn about the other popular models, such as the 12 step, “disease” model and the social learning model before you make your decision. We provide free advice on the different alcohol rehab facilities available and the services offered by each. If you’re struggling to reach a decision, please get in touch and we will help you find the right treatment program for your needs.


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