Some people drink, gamble, binge on food, run around and act out sexually, or engage in deviant sexual practices. While it may or may not be the most morally respectable behavior, it does not cause them the kind of chaos in their lives as an addiction does. These people may "abuse" addictive substances and behaviors, but overall they seem able "to handle it." Their patterns of use never get to the point where it is harming them or others. If it does become so, after a bad episode they are able to set and maintain safer limits from then on. Those who are addicted may attempt to set the same limits, but are not able to lastingly stick to them; the loss of control eventually comes back with increasingly negative episodes.
Just because a person likes something or prefers it, does not mean they are addicted to it.
By and large, addictions specialists and recovering people recognize the difference between moral obsessions and addictive obsessions. Immorality is not the same thing as addiction. As I say on my website www. recoverysense.org, "Addiction can lead to moral decay but addiction is not a moral issue." Addictionologists look for a cluster of complementary symptoms:
Some of the people whose usage patterns look recreational may actually be in the "early stages" of an addiction. If we check in with them later on we may see the debilitation of "later-stage" addiction at that time.