Alcoholism or Drinking Problem?
If a man can function at work and be at the top of his game and friday comes and he gets home and starts to drink to relax or unwind and he usually or always drinks too much. This is a ritual every weekend with a man who doesn't drink through his work week. Would this be an alcoholic or a problem drinker?
Technically speaking, probably only problem drinker, but should it really matter? Why label it? Because alcohol is clearly a problem in the life of the problem drinker and alcoholic - and so should be addressed. It's perhaps just a case of one being further down the road than the other ...
But if you want to be really technical, this person you speak of could be an alcoholic even if he only drinks weekends. Many alcoholics are 'functional' and on the surface appear to have everything under control - good job, paying the bills etc. - but dig a bit deeper, things aren't that great at all because their drinking is effecting their relationships, health etc.
So coming back to the more technical definition of alcoholism
- it talks about loss of control, habituation and interference in any major life function. Nowhere does it say you have to be drinking every day. It's not always about how often a person drinks - but how much they drink once they start (loss of control) - and the effects that starts having on their every day life, e.g. are their work, relationships, mental/emotional state being effected?
Alcoholism also tends to progress in distinct stages, so follows a pattern starting at early stage alcoholism (e.g. problem drinker) ... progressing to end/late stage alcoholism (drinking every day and pretty much down and out), which is what most people associate alcoholism as being as. Which simply isn't the case. It's just that one is further down the road than the other.
Hopefully that helps in answering your question. All the Best.