The typical picture painted of alcoholism is the staggering, drooling drunk-- usually a pathetic, affable person making a scene of some sort.
I've come to understand that this does not capture the true essence of alcoholism. It merely paints a picture of the alcoholic who has found a temporary solution (alcohol). The spiritual malady has been sedated, the resentments and fears that eat their insides daily have been put to sleep. Drunkeness provides relief from alcoholism.
To see true alcoholism, watch the sober, untreated alcoholic. They are coming out of their skin, perhaps because they are doing all they can to fight a physical compulsion to drink, or maybe because they've been without a drink for a week or a month or a year and are battling daily mental urges to drink. Impatience, irritability and edginess mark their day, they often appear forlorn and lonely, and any happiness often appears disingenuine and affected. For me, I often felt like my head might explode at any given moment, and I often wished for it.
This is why we drink: this condition becomes unbearable. It's often a choice between a bottle of vodka and a three state killing spree. And we choose vodka, thankfully. When we hear it said that certain dry alcoholics should just drink, this is what drives it: that person creates less havoc, misery, and destruction when they are drunk than when they are not.
Abstinence does not treat alcoholism, it aggravates it. It's an untenable, in-between state for the hopeless alcoholic-- they either return to drinking or they find a spiritual solution to their spiritual problem.
Don't ever tell me my worst day sober was better than my best day drunk. Utter nonsense.