The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death. (Big Book, Chapter 3) The founders of AA suggest that attempts at moderation provide the best litmus test for alcoholism. In their view, drinkers that are able to cut back without abstaining are not alcoholics because they haven’t become powerless over alcohol. Heavy drinkers that are able to moderate their drinking may be more like people with early-stage heart disease.

The ugly illness of alcoholism and addiction
A couple weeks ago, my wife, kids, and I boarded a plane home from the “happiest place on earth.” We’d gone to Disney World so that my partners and I could attend Mass General’s course on evidence-based treatments for addiction. As the plane taxied to the runway, we became aware of a heated exchange from the row just in front of us. Apparently, a woman had boarded the plane intoxicated, and another passenger had complained about her condition.