What is Alcoholism? A Disease? A Behavior? An Allergy?

Exactly what is alcoholism? Alcoholism isn’t a “thing” but a cluster of behaviors. It’s often called a disease. Yet most facts suggests that it is not.

Indeed, many doctors reject the theory that alcoholism is a disease. They do so for lack of facts supporting it. Visit Is Alcoholism a Disease? to learn more about the argument. Then decide for yourself.

“I don’t like to call myself a drunk. I prefer to say I have a disease.” Anon.

    What is Alcoholism?

Considering alcoholism a disease makes alcoholics feel like helpless victims. Instead, they actually have the power to overcome their unwanted drinking.

In Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) they are taught that they have no power over alcohol. That they must submit their will to God. Or a Higher Power. They’re taught they will never be able to drink again. And that they will be alcoholic until the day they die. But AA has a success rate of only about five percent.

Alcoholism isn’t a disease but a pattern of behaviors. So people can choose to change their drinking behaviors. Federal government research has shown that most alcoholics do change their drinking. And they do it on their own. And without any outside help. They usually become either moderate drinkers or don’t drink. In fact, attending AA actually reduces their chance of success!


And people have many options to help themselves.

what is alcoholismHAMS is a free peer-led support group. It’s for anyone who wants to change their drinking or drug behaviors. The acronym HAMS stands for Harm reduction, Abstinence, and Moderation Support.

The Life Process Program is offered online and interactively. It’s for alcohol and drug help. And it’s by Dr. Stanton Peele. This addiction expert is widely known as a leader in the field. It’s very affordable.

LifeRing is a no-cost support group. It helps people live free from undesired substance use. It does this by empowering people themselves.  

Rational Recovery is a non-12-step program. It helps people use their own innate power. They can then overcome unwanted drinking.

Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) is a network of local groups. They work to help people become either sober or abstain. It can be from alcoholism or addiction from drugs, food, sex, or others.

SMART Recovery (Self-Management And Recovery Training) is a  program that teaches techniques for ending dependence on alcohol.

Women for Sobriety helps women empower themselves. They can then overcome their drinking problems. It’s a free program.

Always remember — alcoholism isn’t is a thing but a behavior. 


what is alcoholism
The reality of heavy drinkers.
    • Your host gets no benefit for his opinion about any program. Description does not imply endorsement. This site gives no advice. This includes “what is alcoholism?”