"Willpower vs. disease" is a needless distraction that wastes a lot of time and energy on a distinction that accomplishes nothing.
For those uncomfortable with the word "disease," you can substitute the word "condition." Some people are born with the innate tendency to crave alcohol and become dependent on it with little provocation. Others may have begun life with less susceptibility, but choices over time have rendered them unable to easily walk away from a drink or ten.
The vulnerability is a given. Whether it existed genetically from birth or developed gradually is moot. Once it's there, it's there and the person doesn't have a choice about whether or not to feel the pull any more than a block of iron can resist magnetic attraction.
The desire, the craving, the pull--that's the condition (aka disease).
No amount of willpower can enable a person to decide not to have the condition. You don't get to decide you won't have the desire or the craving. You do get to make choices about how you will manage your life with the condition. And even this is incredibly difficult for many.
AA may not be the right solution for everyone, but it has helped so many to get honest and be accountable to others who understand the corroded thinking and mental games that precede the destructive choices. To call it a cult is to impugn an organization that has done an incredible amount of good simply because it doesn't fit everyone.
I see the "condition vs. willpower" debate as about as useful as asking people if they walk with their right foot or their left. You can probably cover some distance using either one exclusively, but you can travel a lot farther if you use both together.
In practical terms, this means that addicts of any kind must come to terms with the fact that they have a compulsion (condition or powerful inclination) to use. And non-addicts need to respect the intensity of that compulsion and not just tell them to "knock it off."
AND addicts have to humble themselves to a future of radical honesty and a lifetime of one small choice after another (willpower) if they want to live. And non-addicts need to understand that absent the support and inspiration and relentless accountability of knowledgeable others, many will not be able to keep their eyes on the prize and will falter.
The compulsion to drink and drug IS a powerful force that goes far beyond choice. But, having identified the compulsion, choices matter greatly. And having a network of people who have already navigated these waters (and know the excuses and the terror) can make the difference between recovering and falling apart.
If AA is not helpful to you, by all means, look for some other method. But please, let's not spend any more time attacking something that is a positive force for change for millions of people.
Time to return to the original topic, supporting a brother in his quest to achieve and maintain sobriety.