Margaret Oliphant viewed alcoholism as the vice "most degrading and destructive of all vices" (The Son of His Father). Mrs Oliphant's brother William Wilson was an alcoholic his entire life. He had several new starts, all of which ended in failure - he was "nobody's enemy but his own" (per her Autobiography).
In her first two novels (Christian Melville and Margaret Maitland), while she still had hope for her brother Willie, Margaret Oliphant's portraits of alcoholics emphasize their struggle to raise themselves up again. Following these her stories and novels have a more disillusioned picture of the alcoholic, portraying the alcoholic's ugly behaviour to others, and his "side motives and impulses" (Harry Muir) which add even another layer to the family's distrust of him.
In the novels and stories listed here the character's alcoholism is important to the main story line.