This article is from the ER FAQ, by Rose Cooper firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Early in the series, much was made of Doug`s drinking
problem, but this particular character trait isn`t emphasized as much
as it is with some of television`s other alcoholic characters.
In a second season episode, "And Baby Makes Two" ,
Harper asks Doug how he handles all the trauma and stress of being a
doctor, to which he replies, "Usually I drink, but I`m not a very
good role model." Later in the season, however, Mark and Susan were
seen buying marguerita mix for Doug`s birthday, so one might presume
that his problem isn`t so bad that his friends are willingly
My take on this is: While it`s certainly not healthy for Doug
to be drinking, we haven`t seen it adversely affect his work
performance (i.e. he doesn`t come in to work drunk, or drink at home
when he`s supposed to be at work). This leads me to suspect that
Doug`s drinking problem is not as serious as alcoholism is generally
portrayed on television, or perhaps that it has been tempered in
recent times. There`s nothing unrealistic about the depiction of
Doug`s drinking, at any rate; many people all over the world drink on
a regular basis, often for the wrong reasons, yet manage to keep it
from destroying their livelihood. -(Information courtesy Scott Hollifield).