Have been drinking heavily today and was thinking about various Buffyish things and realized for the first time that Giles, Xander, and Spike--arguably, *all* of BtVS's primary male characters--have been presented suggestively as borderline alcoholics, or at least having a huge potential for it. Definitely heavy drinkers whenever faced with personal problems.
Of course, maybe there's not a wide selection of dysfunctional behaviors to saddle prime-time characters with. Self-mutilation, promiscuous behavior, heavy drug use--these are hard-core, whereas drinking is legal, commonplace, and easily understood as a vehicle of vice.
And it's clear, I think, that all the BtVS regulars are heavily fucked-up by their Hellmouth history, and stagger around under a weight of accrued pain, more or less bereft of close ties--at least ones that are peaceful and grounded in something other than shared trauma. I mean, aside from the guys, there's also Willow, whose magical addiction arc is a clear metaphor for alcoholism (echoed in a minor key by Amy); Buffy, whose S6 Spike relationship also plays like addiction; Riley and the vamp suckage; Dawn, with her kleptomania; Anya and her twin obsessions of money and sex (though she's by far the weakest example, I know), and so on.
Tara was arguably the only sane person on the Hellmouth Clean-Up Crew, the only one who managed to maintain emotional and psychological stability, and look what they did to her. Poor, lovely bitch.