As opposed to the term "alcoholic" which carries a negative connotation. It seems like every activity or substance in America that is even somewhat fun must be bad. Therefore if you partake in it more than the majority of people do, you must have a problem. And I'm not buying that whole "disease" argument so don't even try. Some people handle their business and some don't, whether they drink or not.
I like to drink and tend to get drunk more than the next fellow. But I still maintain a job and keep up on my bills. Therefore, I'm a heavy drinker.
Ol' homebum over there in the alley who blacked out last night and woke up in the gutter, there's your example of an alcoholic. Maybe a crackhead too.