Alcoholism is a chronic and often progressive disease that includes problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect (physical dependence / tolerance), or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking. If you have alcoholism, you cannot consistently predict how much you’ll drink, how long you’ll drink or what consequences will occur from your drinking.
It’s possible to have a problem with alcohol, even when it has not progressed to the point of alcoholism. Problem drinking means you drink too much at times, causing repeated problems in your life, although you’re not completely dependent on alcohol.
If you have alcoholism or you have a problem with alcohol, you may not be able to cut back or quit without help. Denying that you have a problem is usually one of the defense mechanisms people use to justify their drinking and avoid seeking help.