I debated returning to this conversation. Besides his reply here to my comment, Stanton also emailed me two disputatious emails (disputatious is the nicest word I can think of). I didn't want to encourage more such communication. I did not respond to the emails.

It's important diagnostically to differentiate between Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Dependence. Someone who wasn't a professional might not be familiar with the distinction. A person with Alcohol Abuse might be able to learn to drink moderately, but someone who is addicted to alcohol (Alcohol Dependence) has tried that route and failed.

What's interesting to me is the supposed need to drink at all. I have a digestive condition, and when I was told I can no longer eat nuts or seeds, I was sad but I do not obsess about nuts or seeds or feel deprived because I cannot eat nuts or seeds. I don't look for excuses or theories to rationalize how I could really eat nuts or seeds in moderation. I could take a risk and eat nuts or seeds and it's possible nothing would happen, but why take that risk? I would just rather not eat nuts or seeds. They are not an important part of my diet. The fact that some people with alcohol problems desperately want to find a way to drink moderately indicates to me that they are still obsessing about alcohol. If they weren't, they just wouldn't care. They would say to themselves, ok, it's better not to drink so I won't do it. Nobody has to drink, after all.

Of course, our society encourages alcohol consumption, which is one of the many reasons people join 12-step groups, so they can have a social network that isn't focused around alcohol. This is why some people with Alcohol ABuse as well as those with Alcohol Dependence can be found in AA.