To what point is it considered that your an alcoholic?
I am a recovering alcoholic, and the thing I learned from telling my story and listening to other alcoholics tell their story, is that frequency and quantity of drinking varies tremendously and is not a good identifier of whether one is or is not an alcoholic. For me, I think its about feelings. How do you feel before and after you take the first drink? Feelings of anxiety and frustration when I didn't drink, not being able to stop after I had the first drink (with a few exceptions here and there, but for the most part, as soon as I put alcohol in my system, I wanted more), followed by remorse and demoralization, and the insanity of picking up the first drink even after the negative emotional and personal consequences of the last drink. In A.A. alcoholism is described as an abnormal "negative" physical reaction to alcohol (an "allergy") and an obsession of the mind that compels the alcoholic to drink once again. For me being an alcoholic means admitting that I am powerless of alcohol, to stop drinking for a given time on my own, and that drinking alcohol makes my life unmanageable. Unmanageability looks different on everyone ... for some it is losing a job, spouse, living in the gutter, for others it is feelings of self-loathing and depression.
Maybe go to a few AA meetings, don't worry about the "God" stuff, no one wants to convert you or brainwash you, and just try to listen to people's stories about how they realized they were an alcoholic. Especially if you live in a big city, AA has a huge range of meetings and people in it, from atheists to gay/lesbian and young people groups, all kinds of people from punk rockers, housewives, and lawyers to vagabonds. AA is free, has no centralized organization, membership is voluntary and inclusive, and has helped a lot of people, which is why I recommend it.
If you don't want to go to a 12 step, there are secular support groups, addiction psychiatrists, and good old rehab counselors to talk too.
Having been one, as a teen and early adult, an alcoholic is one who doesn't care about ones self primarily. Usually the drink becomes primary to function and the "need" or meriade of excuses to do so are very readily available. Also, trying to conceal your habit from others who really know you. The abuse of any substance like drugs and or alcohol play a hard lesson later in life. I'm in my late 30's and have found that my short term memory is a bit lack and I have to really concentrate on what I'm doing. It may seem harmless to get blasted, but when you can't get enough and start becoming someone else when you are drunk then chances are you are well on your way to being a full blown alcoholic. If you aren't sure get professional advice from a person you trust.
Take care and be careful.
When drinking alcohol impedes your day to day activities. Such as work, school, getting with family or friends or if alcohol makes you out of control and do violent things(like drive drunk or get into fights).
Wikipedia: alcoholism typically refers to any condition that results in the continued consumption of alcoholic beverages despite negative personal and social consequences. Medical definitions describe alcoholism as a disease which may result in a persistent difficulty in controlling alcohol consumption. Alcoholism may also refer to a preoccupation with or compulsion toward the consumption of alcohol and/or an impaired ability to recognize the negative effects of excessive alcohol consumption.
You can determine any addiction by the need to have the drug or withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms vary from a craving to a full blown seizure. You can be a weekend alcoholic, a Christmas alcoholic, only drinking in the evenings after work daily you are still considered an alcoholic. A lot of people go through life undetected because they only drink after work or weekends. But take away their drink during these times and you see what can be a "different person" It can be complicated when someone thinks they only drink at certain times so they can't be an alcoholic this is not true.
I think alcoholism can be defined as when you lose control over your ability to chose to start or stop drinking. If alcohol has that powerful of a hold on you where you have to have it, I would say that addiction would be considered alcoholism.
It's difficult for some who can be considered an alcoholic or addict to see that they are addicted or that they are losing control of their life to alcohol. They may not think that they "need" it. As someone looking in their life, you can definitely tell if they are able to control alcohol or if alcohol is controlling them.
you cant hold a job (some can though)
you get the 'shakes'
you feel sick without it
need it too function