While the majority of the regular consumers of alcohol controls their consumption well over life span and even takes instrumentalization benefits from it, a minority, but yet high total number of users develops an alcohol addiction. It has long been known that particular personality types are more addiction prone than others. Here we review recent progress in the understanding of neurobiological pathways that determine personality and facilitate drug abuse. Novel approaches to characterize personality traits leading to addiction proneness in social settings in mice are discussed. A common genetic and neurobiological base for the behavioural traits of sensation seeking or a depressed phenotype and escalating alcohol consumption are reviewed. Furthermore, recent progress on how social and cognitive factors, including impulsivity and decision making, act at brain level to make an individual more vulnerable to alcohol abuse, are discussed. Altogether, this review provides an update on brain mechanisms underlying a broad spectrum of personality traits that make an individual more prone to alcohol and drug abuse and addiction.