She said her former sponsor told her, "You drank alcoholically for so long that you finally became an alcoholic."
If you asked me, how I became alcoholic -- my answer would have been the same: I drank so much alcohol, that I became alcoholic.
That's the only way I know of -- how a person can become alcoholic.... other than the possibility, that the mother was drinking alcohol in pregnancy. Hospitals do have cases where the baby is born withdrawing from alcohol -- if it lives through it. Just like babies that are born addicted to heroin or crack -- the mother was using during pregnancy.
The genetic theory is only that a person has a predisposition -- to becoming alcoholic. But... even w/ the genetics, they can't become alcoholic -- without putting alcohol in their body. So, they've got to drink it first. They only have "the potential" to be alcoholic prior to drinking. Each of us, alcoholic and non-alcoholic have "the potential" to become alcoholic -- if -- we drink enough alcohol.
The physical component of alcoholism: the physical body of the alcoholic reacts differently in regards to alcohol -- than a non-alcoholics body.
Physical + Mental. Not, just Mental. This is also the difference in drug addiction -- and alcoholism.
In terms of differences:
1. Alcohol abuse. (Drinks too much).
2. Alcohol dependence. (Becomes dependent on the effects of alcohol).
3. Alcohol addictions. (Addicted to the drug alcohol -- but it's a psychological addiction, just like the dependence. However, it can include both: psychological addiction and a physical dependence. The physical dependence is the same reason that anyone, alcoholic or not -- will experience a "hang-over" effect -- when the body is withdrawing from too much alcohol.) This type of alcohol addiction can be overcome by simply stopping the addiction by stopping drinking. This is similar to the type that the Big Book refers to in Chapter 3, as "a hard drinker." Given sufficient enough reason -- they can stop.
4. Alcohol-ism: a physical, abnormal, biological reaction -- that is different, in the body of the alcoholic, when compared to the body of a non-alcoholic. The alcoholic -- regardless of how long they stay "stopped drinking" will always still have "the abnormal physical reaction" -- which is progressive with time -- even while sober. (Thus, that's what it means, when we read "it gets worse -- not better" even while not drinking).
Best understood using the illustration phenomenon of "allergic" reaction.
People with an abnormal reaction to strawberries, peanut butter and bee stings -- are said to have "an allergy" (abnormal physical reaction) to those substances -- compared to a majority of bodies that do not have the same reaction. (Normal vs abnormal).
I hope that helps.