Alcoholism is NOT a Disease In and of Itself.
While I would say no different than smoking, over eating, drugs or gambling, alcoholism is an addiction. Addiction can be, I would say, classified as a mentally provoked condition or illness.
Addiction is a disease of the mind, but, one that you can, should you choose to, fix. More difficult in some cases, but possible. The cancer patient can go for treatment, but there are no guarantees, whereby the alcoholic if he/she chooses not to drink, will not face the fatal effect of this addiction.
It CAN, regardless of the degree of difficulty, absolutely be beaten. That is why I do not think it is a disease, really. Smokers CAN quit smoking, gamblers CAN quit gambling, a person with cancer can not say I will live and just live ... there are other "medical" factors that come into play.
I do think addiction is an illness for sure ... one that is undoubtedly hard to beat, but having beaten 2 or 3 myself, I KNOW it can be done with strength of will and the will to want it badly enough. I think many just don't really (deep down in their hearts) want to beat it. It's easier to blame it on someone or something else.
Sorry to those that disagree ... but I am speaking FIRST hand here. I did it, so can anyone ... I don't have superpowers.