Alcoholism runs in families.
There is research showing that Native Americans in the US have lower tolerance to alcohol due to the fact that alcohol was introduced to their society rather late. (Which goes to show the genetic factor in the way bodies deal with alcohol)
Purely ancedotal. I’m a recovering alky (one year and four months and a couple days since my last drink). Before my problem got bad I had no idea that there were any alcoholics in my family. After it was clear I had a problem and entered treatment I found out that my uncle, a couple cousins(male and female) a couple great grandfathers, and a great grandmother were or are alcoholics. The number of alcoholics in my family is far larger than the 10%* usually given as the percentage of the population that are alcoholic.
As far as the whole ‘willpower’ thing goes, for most alcoholics there is no such thing when it comes to alcohol. For, most once they get started it just doesn’t stop. I was fine until I had my first drink. After I had my first drink I couldn’t stop. The kicker is that from the moment I woke up the only thing I could think about wa a drink. There are alcoholics who can ‘control’ their drinking. My uncle is, as far as I can tell, one of this type. He drinks everyday. Alot. I’ve seen him put it away. And that is coming from someone who would put down a couple cases of beer everyday with out thinking about it. Yet he never lost his job, never lost his family, he never ended up on the street but he has to drink. I’ve talked to him about it and he knows he has a problem but, for him, it isn’t bad enough yet for him to want to fix it.
Alcoholism has a gentic factor, it’s chornic, it’s progressive and it’s fatal. It is also uncurable. Recovering alcoholics are in remission. They aren’t cured. I’ve seen too many alcoholics in my short time of sobriety get sober, get their life back then take a drink go right back to where they started. As far as I know that pretty much meets the definition of a disease.
*I have heard the 10% number from numerous sources. I have no idea if it is valid.