It is obvious that life is filled with choices and we often go to great lengths to explore different possible outcomes or scenarios when attempting to make decisions.  However what is choice and how does it relate to free will?

It would seem that choices may be divided up into several categories, but in particular we have those that are:

1.  Direct choices, or command decisions where we intentionally make a determination about a particular outcome, perhaps after weighing options.

2.  Indirect choices occur when we simply respond to a situation without necessarily thinking through all the consequences.  In particular this can occur when we are "caught up in the moment".

3.  Indeterminate choices are those where we elect to do nothing and let circumstances dictate the possibilities after which we may respond with directed or indirect choices.

Equally obvious is that choices may be good or bad depending on how they effect us, so while good choices seem to be rational, bad choices may be the more consequential giving rise to many behaviors which may be considered irrational and difficult to change.

Within the context of free will, we have to consider how much latitude the act of making choices actually entails given that we will be subject to the physiology of our brain functions, which will be determined by our DNA as well as more subtle controls such as our belief system and the values that have been taught (or neglected to be taught) to us.

There is no doubt that all of these factors will be an influence on how we conduct choices and may well dominate the types of choices we make, but can we really be confident that they are uncontrollable and will always result in a predeterminated outcome.  After all, that is what the lack of free will would dictate; that we cannot change the fundamental operation of our brains.

I think a compelling argument can be made that if there were no free will, then there would be no capability of people making significant changes in their lives.  There would be no point in therapies or rehabilitation, since their behavior is dictated by an independent agency that isn't subject to such controls.

If we consider the model of addiction, many people have a problem with the idea of addiction being considered a disease, although it is obvious that there may be physiological and psychological elements of addiction that render it beyond the ability to overcome by "willpower" alone.  Part of the problem is that the start of addictions usually involve making bad, or self-serving choices, which ultimately give rise to the addictive behavior so it becomes more difficult to draw the line between when choice becomes over-ruled by disease.

Even if we examine potential causes for bad choices in addiction, we may find physiological indicators that suggest that someone is prone to such behaviors and perhaps circumstances in their lives have even effectively "paved the way" towards such an addiction, however this doesn't rule out free will.  As I've already mentioned, it is the role of free will that allows these circumstances to be overturned, perhaps with great difficulty, but nevertheless suggesting that the brain is not the all-controlling agent in determining outcomes.

Another important element in the choices we make is that humans are not rational creatures, but rather they are rationalizing creatures.  This means that we attempt to justify our decisions and choices based on the circumstances that we want to indulge in or give in to.  Often this conveys a kind of contrived helplessness, simply because we don't want to change our behavior despite the external consequences.

Often the free will argument is countered with the idea that all decisions/choices are simply a product of our responses to the pain/pleasure centers of our brain.  However, this presents a difficulty since such a binary response is rarely what is encountered in real decision-making. In many circumstances it becomes difficult if not impossible to differentiate the pain/pleasure elements to a sufficient degree to conclude anything.  There is no question that pain/pleasure can be powerful motivators, but I don't believe they are decision-makers.  

I would speculate that many of the bad choices people make regarding addictions are because they become self-indulgent, especially when they want to rationalize their behavior as being victims themselves.  It becomes a way of absolving oneself from the responsibility of making the right choice by rationalizing our helplessness to avoid the bad one.  

There is also an element of apathy where we don't think that the consequences are real, or that they won't happen to us.  Similarly, self-destructive behaviors are all victim-type behaviors where we are attempting to "punish" whoever has offended us by making them see "what they did to us".  All of these are rationalizations for the choices being made, but nevertheless those are actually choices that are not dictated by a "hard-wired" brain.

Just as every action isn't based on a completely blank slate of a mind whereby every possible choice can be reasonably entertained, and while we will be oriented towards making choices that comply with our teachings, values, and pain/pleasure responses.  There is also a means by which we can override our innate desires.  The most provocative aspect of this, is that if we lacked free will, it seems preposterous to have evolved a brain that ultimately provides no better control than hard-wired instincts.  Natural selection could not have anticipated every circumstance to which a brain may be required to respond, so there must be some element of freedom or flexibility that could be identified as true "free will".