It is very tiresome to have that which an addict has for the thing to which he is addicted, hunger, my desire to have a stove with further-apart and larger ranges, and my desire to peel the beets which I have cooked so that I can eat them (what the final clause is attached to is ambiguous, but really it's accurate in either case) reduced to the same category, whether "desire", "drive", or, in a vague nod to the idea that there might in fact be differences among them, "pro-attitude" (something that still at least makes them all out to be attitudes), subsequent on which it is assumed that they all operate pretty much the same way—a tendency that has made it almost impossible for me to take seriously philosophical arguments about addicts, willing or otherwise, given the ham-handedness with which the phenomena of addiction are treated. Or seem to be, anyway: my experience with substances generally recognized to be addictive, other than alcohol, is pretty much nil, but a similarly-minded friend who has quit smoking several times agreed to the proposition that in addiction the (or a) issue is not that one has particularly strong desires for cigarettes but that as it were one's will is corrupted; one hasn't the ability to deny desires for cigarettes. (In fact this fits well with Nietzsche's definition of weakness of the will as the inability not to act on a stimulus—which doesn't require that the stimulus be very strong, even if we think that someone's will can be weaker with regard to some objects than to others.) Moreover—something that Sarah Buss at least has thankfully pointed out—succumbing to such a desire is still your action; it isn't actually an alien force—doesn't drag you around and move your hand into the pack for you—even if you might wish that you didn't have such desires. that they weren't so insistent, or that smoking hadn't become quasi-needful for you. (I mean, we are talking about a dependency.)
The cost of the absence of subtle descriptions and subtle words can be seen when (for instance) someone describes high-functioning alcoholics as those in whom a drive for consuming alcohol (which is what alcoholics are said to have—a drive, like any other, except very strong, for drinking alcohol) has "mastered" other drives, where such mastery "consists of one drives' beign predominant, but still allowing other drives expression. In other words, drive A masters drives B and C when A becomes stronger than B and C, and modulates the expression of B and C, yet does not weaken or eliminate B and C" (this is Katsafanas, "The Concept of Unified Agency in Nietzsche, Plato, and Schiller"). Of course "allowing other drives expression" cannot mean here something agentially flavored, something that might be glossed as "suffering them to be expressed": at best it can be something like: this drive does not prevent or exclude the expression of the others. No gloss has yet been given for one drive's being stronger than another; it would be implausible to think that A being stronger than B meant that one always acted in accordance with the former rather than the latter whenever one could only do one of the two, so I assume it's something on the order of acting in accordance with the stronger drive when there's an issue of which of the two drives will prevail. On the one hand: this allows us the reasonable possibility that a drive might be momentarily satisfied and thus not contest other drives even if action in accordance with it is still possible. On the other: it seems to make fatigue and thirst, to say nothing of the drive associated with (*ahem*) fecal urgency, into drives that (in most of us) have mastered all other drives.
Katsafanas notes that high-functioning alcoholics "maintain stable and successful lives" and says that they "have rich arrays of passions and drives that are subordinated to, but not weakened or extirpated by, their craving for alcohol". But why should we think that this claim of subordination is correct—that the alcoholic will go to his weekly bridge game, but not until he's had a drink, because the desire to play bridge is subordinate to his desire to have a drink? (I've said "desire" in part because talking about a drive to play bridge is a little too too.) Why not think precisely the opposite: his desire to have a drink is subordinated to his desire to play bridge in the way that his desire to drive to the place where the game takes place is subordinated to the desire to play bridge? That he can't do it without having a drink first. That wouldn't mean that the drive to drink is stronger than the drive to sociability, it would mean that drinking has become a necessary step in the pursuit of other ends. (You could try to make it out that this is the drive for drink's "modulation" of the drive for sociability, but I think we should be becoming skeptical of talk of a "drive for drink" at all. Katsafanas also speaks of a "craving for alcohol", which strikes me as something different again. It also seems forced to talk of a modulation here; the expression of the drive to sociability remains the same: playing the weekly bridge game. It's just become that much harder to actually do it. Similarly (or at worst, similarly forced): when the bus routes change, that doesn't modulate the expression of the drive to sociability, it just means he has to figure out afresh how to get to the game.) Katsafanas even quotes Hemingway to apparently this effect: "You wake up in the night and things are unbearable and you take a drink and make them bearable." This doesn't seem to be the expression of a drive to drink; it's an expression (as Katsafanas notes) of a dependency on alcohol to do other things. Alcoholism being what it is, the need to consume alcohol to do anything eventually becomes an inability to do anything because of the alcohol consumed (I am told that heroin isn't like this and that if you can secure a good supply it is, considered in itself, basically free from ill effects, but I have no idea how true that is): which Katsafanas is forced to describe, bafflingly, as the drive "extirpat[ing] or severely weaken[ing] competing drives" (the hallmark of a drive's tyrannizing rather than mastering another). Whereas it seems to be the result of two things: (a) when one is constantly trashed, it is hard to maintain other interests, and even the most iron-livered will eventually reach the limits of their tolerance; (b) when what it takes to meet one drive (theoretically, in order to be able to get on with one's life) keeps increasing, one can do less and less by way of getting on with one's life. What is happening here is that the other drives are dying on the vine, not that the drive to drink is weakening them. (Not all becoming-weaks are being-weakeneds.) If we must persist in identifying what the alcoholic undergoes as a drive on a par with all others.