There is an inescapable conceptual struggle when dealing with America's volatile history of, and attitudes toward, substance use. In other words, the meaning of addiction is a never-ending American, and thus worldwide, cultural debate.
There is a tradition in America of expanding a problem further down the spectrum, a name for which is "problem inflation." One way this is done is to link any signs that people have an incipient problem with the cases of people who suffer the worst forms of that problem.
Given that heavy drinkers often don't become "normal" drinkers on their own, the takeaway message for clinicians and family members is to help connect a problem drinker to a community social service agency or Alcoholics Anonymous.