I think one of the things I appreciate the most about how Pratchett writes Sam Vimes is that he never attempts to discredit his alcoholism.
I mean, let’s look at the tropes; Vimes is the classic cowboy-cop turned on its head - has one hell of a conscience, respect for the law, a healthy marriage/family dynamic, and he sobers up.
And this is very important to me, as your run-of-the mill’s film noir detective’s affinity for the bottle (and another one) comes up in two flavours; to cheaply increase dramatic tension (‘the femme fatale spurned his advances and made him turn to the bottle’ *eyeroll*) and/or to show how much of a rebel/how disillusioned he is.
The former point is subverted, deconstructed and reconstructed several times, and while Vimes is both a rebel and disillusioned, fact a) is just from sheer virtue of him being, well, Vimes, and fact b) is a direct result of being on the sauce for thirty years. And a huge part of his character development is the fact that he’s able to get clean.
And it’s never cheapened; the narrative never goes ‘just a little drink is fine, we can’t have the protagonist be some sober cissy cmon’ - Vimes repeatedly makes a point about why he can’t drink, ever, because when he does he isn’t really Sam Vimes.
I swear, I nearly had a coronary at the ending of Snuff, where it seemed as if Pterry was going to hurl all that straight out the window, but no. It was just us being tricked by our pre-conceptions of how these things are supposed to go, narratively.
And when it comes down to it, it’s simply another thing he’s overcome - along with such things as people above his social class trying to keep him down, his near-crippling self-doubt, lack of formal education and struggle with the injustice inherent in the world. Bloody hard to kick to the curb, but not impossible.
And, you know. That’s the kind of message I don’t mind at all in the stuff I read.