I agree with Terry Pratchett that we drink to forget, but after years of struggling with a tendency towards alcoholism and a strong desire to drown myself to forget, I broke from these thoughts. Having overcome the weakness (several years ago), I was able to drink with self-control and vivality.
Today, reading Heretics by G.K. Chesterton, I read this fantastic observation about alcohol.
A new morality has burst upon us with some violence in connection with the problem of strong drink; and enthusiasts in the matter range from the man who is violently thrown out at 12:30, to the lady who smashes American bars with an axe. In these discussions it is almost always felt that one very wise and moderate position is to say that wine or such stuff should only be drunk as a medicine. With this I should venture to disagree with a peculiar ferocity. The one genuinely dangerous and immoral way of drinking wine is to drink it as a medicine. And for this reason, If a man drinks wine in order to obtain pleasure, he is trying to obtain something exceptional, something he does not expect every hour of the day, something which, unless he is a little insane, he will not try to get every hour of the day. But if a man drinks wine in order to obtain health, he is trying to get something natural; something, that is, that he ought not to be without; something that he may find it difficult to reconcile himself to being without.
I can gladly say that I am of the former camp, drinking to obtain pleasure without the desire or need to feel the same way all the time. Let us not forget the danger of taking alcohol when ill, though.
Hence comes the fact which every doctor knows, that it is often perilous to give alcohol to the sick even when they need it. I need hardly say that I do not mean that I think the giving of alcohol to the sick for stimulus is necessarily unjustifiable. But I do mean that giving it to the healthy for fun is the proper use of it, and a great deal more consistent with health.