Addiction is a complex subject that fails to sit in a single category. Often times it is portrayed in the simple terms of being either a disease or a moral problem.
Compulsory education teaches the value of self-control and sober judgment. Addiction is often portrayed as abnormal and something to be ashamed of. Drinking to excess represents a lack of character or a moral failure. Addicts are portrayed as untrustworthy, unreliable and selfish. Part of this belief systems stems from religious views of alcohol. Some religions teach that alcohol consumption is a violation of a moral code and admitting that a problem exists and repenting is the only way to be absolved of a weakness in character.
Treatment centers take a far less harsh view. Addicts and their families are taught that alcoholism is a complex physical and psychological disorder. Addicts and alcoholics are shown to be sick and in need of treatment and understanding. In the view of science, addiction is a chronic and potentially fatal disorder that can be treated if proper conditions are met. Professionals can use therapeutic techniques to deal with denial and certain medications can ease cravings.
The two position of morality versus disease are divergent and far to simplistic to properly sum up something as complex as addiction. In historical writings this type of analysis can be compared to the singular causation fallacy. Weak historical writing will often credit one single event to causing another. An example would be that the election of Abraham Lincoln as President caused the American Civil War. While this analysis might be true in some respects, the Civil War was the result of thousands of other events tied together. Understanding the causes of addiction require digging deeper than painting broad strokes to describe the epidemic, while understanding that each case of addiction probably has unique causes.