Let’s Ask Bill W., What is alcoholism?
Alcoholism is a malady; that something is dead wrong with us physically; that our reaction to alcohol has changed; that something has been very wrong with us emotionally; that our alcoholic habit has become an obsession, an obsession which can no longer reckon even with death itself. Once firmly set, one is not able to turn it aside. In other words, a sort of allergy of the body which guarantees that we shall die if we drink, an obsession of the mind which guarantees that we shall go on drinking. Such has been the alcoholic dilemma time out of mind, and it is altogether probable that even those alcoholics who did not wish to go on drinking, not more than five out of one hundred have ever been able to stop before A.A.
(Bill Wilson, a cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Yale Summer School of Alcohol Studies, June 1945).