I'm a recovering alcoholic and I went from the extreme depths to absolute sobriety all at once.
I remember when I had to do alcohol counseling to get my license back I was blatantly honest during the entrance interview (something they're not used to).
Counselor: "How many days a month would you drink alcohol?"
Me (completely serious): "Which month are we talking?"
Counselor (after a pause): "Okay, let's say a 30 day month."
Me: "30 days."
Counselor: "How many of those days would you drink until intoxication?"
Me: "30 days."
Counselor: "How many of those days would you drink until blacked out?"
Me: "29." (Short pause) "Wait, does it count as more than one day if I drank for more than 24 hours straight?"
I spent a good ten years of my life like that (and piled on top of that booze about 4 packs of cigarettes a day, painkillers and a lot of cocaine too). I couldn't imagine my life otherwise. There was a period of more than 5 years that my body was ever in a state that wasn't intoxicated or hungover.
That was five years ago. I haven't touched any of that stuff since then (one time i was accidentally served a vodka and soda water when I ordered a plain soda water, and I had a gulp of alcohol, but that one time really was it).
The thing is, it's not about how much you drink, how often you drink or how you handle your alcohol. Being an alcoholic is just a way that your brain is wired. I can sense it in others, see the beast that's in me in the eyes of people all the time.
There are folks who come into my bar every Friday and Saturday night and drink until they're hammered who I don't see as alcoholics. Then there are those who stop in for just one margarita a few times a week, just one, who I think are alcoholics.
It's hard to put it in words because as I said, it's the way your brain is wired and all about the way you see alcohol.
But basically, it's like this: those weekend drunks might not have a problem just stopping if they really had to. And those afternoon margarita drinkers might not be able to cope if they were forced to stop having "just that one."
But it's a personal thing. Everyone in the world can think you're an alcoholic, even your doctor, but if you don't believe it nothing is ever going to change. It's all about where your head is at.
The way I see it, alcohol is not a bad thing. It was a bad thing for ME, because of the way I used it, but it's not necessarily bad for someone else.
But I will say that nothing bad ever came from cutting back on it, ever, for anyone.