Alcoholism, like any addiction, has spawned from the need to numb our emotions. If we are numbing, then that indicates we are in pain. The pain is real and needs to be validated. Alcohol, in a lot of ways, is like putting a band aid on cancer with the hope it will take it away.
Alcoholism shows itself in various forms. One can be high functioning where it doesn't "necessarily" impede daily functions but does in fact affect ones being emotionally present. The other form shows itself through binge drinking or intense spurts but then may taper off. The other is even more covert where it shows itself more as a looming compulsion where you find yourself just needing to have a drink to "take the edge off". What you then generally find is that you are drinking a lot more than you really realize.
The process is of recovery is really found in an overall program. Individual therapy is part of this program but it not the cure all. Therefore, part of the therapeutic process is helping a person get on track with a good working program for recovery.