It has been swirling in my head, what is alcoholism? And I am ambivalent about calling it a disease, but that might just be semantics. I think alcoholism is the manifestation of addiction, and there are both physical and mental addictions.
In the recovery community there is lots of talk about the differences in alcoholics brains versus normies. This argument seems to come from a place to reduce shame and about drinking:"it's not your fault, you have a disease." I don't buy it. But I also don't think it is a moral failing on the parts of dysfunctional drinkers if they repeated fail to stop drinking.
Here's my analogy: lung cancer is the end result of smoking cigarettes for decades. Smoking is addictive. Alcoholism is the effect of drinking for decades. Drinking is addictive.
I think people make themselves alcoholics (both physically and psychologically) although, some might have physical tendencies towards it just like some will get lung cancer before others.
I don't think it is behavior free, it doesn't just happen, just like lung cancer or diabetes doesn't just happen to most people-our habits effect our bodies, I had an active role in fueling my addiction.
-Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp -Almost Alcoholic by Joseph Nowinski and Robert Doyle -After the Tears: Helping Adult Children of Alcoholics Heal Their Childhood by Jane Middelton-Moz and Lorie Dwinell