In Northern Europe heavy drinking is an ancient tradition, and beer is generally stronger than its American counterpart. Without boasting, it takes about ten cans of 5% lager to get me totally spasticated.
In a typically male, Anglo-Saxon environment, it's not unusual to see copious amounts of alcohol consumed. Take, for instance, when me and my men are working out of town. We finish for the week in our temporary digs, get washed and fed, then we'll head-out to a few pubs. We'll usually return to the digs with 50+ cans of strong beer, some cannabis and (on occasion) some cocaine. We then plot down and get violently drunk whilst bragging and talking bullshit over a game of cards.
However, I know for a fact that neither myself or anyone I employ is an alcoholic, functioning or otherwise. Seriously, I remember watching an episode of that ghastly Gerry Springer show where some woman was publically accused by a friend of child neglect because she'd have a bottle of beer followed by 3 or 4 shots. Do me a bleedin' favour! It's all about perspective. Honestly, you should see what goes on in some of the digs occupied by Russian contractors I've worked with. By the sounds of it, it would make the hairs on your comparatively lily-livered American backs stand on end.
Anyway, my answer.
A dependent alcoholic, in my opinion, thinks about where their first drink of the day will come from upon waking.And no, I don't speak from experience.
All joking aside, I reckon I could drink every single one of you under the table. But you'd all probably wuss-out after you saw the size of my glass.
Kooshdakhaa, I know where you're coming from. I used to drink heavily when I was in the army, along with everyone else. I'd say I get drunk, on average, about once or twice a fortnight. You see, my wife's one of you lot and her frowns come as a welcome catalyst to an otherwise potentially negligent attitude towards alcohol. I guess heavy drinking is just one of those traditions that didn't survive the journey to the New World. Unless you're Irish-American, that is.
My husband used to get irritated when he'd hear people making a big deal about something going up in price by a buck or so, and he was apt to say "I spill more in a night than that costs." (He could be funny.) Thanks for the reminder.