Hello Newguy! Welcome to the site. You sound like a fit to me.
My past relates to a lot of what you wrote. Myself, and many others -- after we were sober in AA for a while -- discovered that we had been alcoholic for many years before we hit the tragic stages of our drinking. And, that had we come to AA sooner & adopted the tools & way of life -- we could have spared ourselves years and years of misery. This is also true for many younger alcoholics who had become alcoholic in their teens -- then, were able to spend years doing some moderate or controlled drinking. And, some, who stayed sober long enough until they finished their careers and didn't take up drinking again until they had retired.
It's not how deep a grave gets dug -- that determines if someone is dead.
And, it's not how far down a scale that you have gone, that determines whether or not your alcoholic.
I'd suggest that you might want to read the book Alcoholics Anonymous, and give some special attention to Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, and also The Dr.'s Opinion, in the front of the book.
There is ONLY ONE requirement for AA Membership: "Do you have a desire to stop drinking?" If you can answer "Yes" to that question -- you are qualified to join. And, how do you join? How do you become a member? "YOU become a member If YOU DECIDE that you are."
I WISH that I would have had the level of insight & intelligence that you have... years before I got to where I got! I had known someone in AA that was a friend -- but I only spent all my time trying to get them to understand that "they" were not an alcoholic and that they could drink with me!
You see... I had a "wrong perception" of what determines IF someone is alcoholic or not. And, "who or what" determines IF someone is alcoholic? The only one that can do that is: the alcoholic.
You may, or may not discover that "Wow! I'm sure glad I got here when I did! Because, I can see & understand now -- that I was a lot worse off than I thought I was!" (Many of us come to that conclusion after we've been sober for a few years).
I hope that helps. And, I hope you'll keep coming back!