As A.A. sees it
Alcoholics cannot control their drinking, because they are ill in their bodies and in their minds (or emotions), A.A. believes. If they do not stop drinking,their alcoholism almost always gets worse and worse.
Both the American Medical Association and the British Medical Association, chief organizations of doctors in those countries, also have said that alcoholism is an illness.
What are the symptoms?
Not all alcoholics have the same symptoms, but many – at different stages in the illness – show these signs:
They find that only alcohol can make them feel self-confident and at ease with other people, often want just one more at the end of a party; look forward to drinking occasions and think about them a lot; get drunk when they had not planned to; try to control their drinking by changing types of liquor, going on the wagon,
or taking pledges, sneak drinks; lie about their drinking; hide bottles; drink at work (or in school); drink alone; have blackouts (that is, cannot remember the next day what they said or did the night before); drink in the morning, to relieve severe hangovers, guilty feelings and fears; fail to eat and become malnourished; get
cirrhosis of the liver; shake violently, hallucinate, or have convulsions when withdrawn from liquor.
(from the leaflet “A Brief Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous")