Alcohol use can be a healthy and positive part of a person's life. Many people drink alcohol on a somewhat regular basis as a way of enjoying meeting with friends, as a complement to a meal when choosing a particular wine or other beverage, or as a refreshing beverage while enjoying a sporting event or other gathering. There are patterns of use that can be healthy and positive but it can also turn into a negative thing when it becomes abuse.
Alcohol abuse is characterized by patterns of use that start to interfere with other parts of someone's life including work and school and family life. Alcohol abuse generally tends to involve drinking on a frequent basis and drinking that leads to severe impairment and poor judgment. The drinking becomes an obstacle to fulfilling responsibilities as it becomes a priority over other things.
The physical effects of alcohol abuse and dependence are also severe as it can lead to liver damage, and other health effects including hypertension, cirrhosis, etc.