As if all of the abstract, existential, emotional problems weren't enough, half of the characters in Dubliners are out and out alcoholics. Sometimes Joyce focuses on the short-term consequences of a night of excessive drinking (abuse of others and injury to yourself), while other times it's the effect of a longer-lasting addiction that draws his interest (basically, these folks are headed for an early grave). Given that drinking brings nothing good to these characters, it's a wonder they do it in the first place. But hey, they've got to drown their sorrows somehow, and booze in Dublin is cheap.
After the three stories of childhood, not a single story in Dubliners fails to mention alcohol and drinking. That's twelve out of fifteen stories—sheesh. In nine out of the twelve, the reference is specifically to excessive drinking, drunkenness, or a person with a drinking problem. That just goes to show that alcohol is the go-to coping mechanism for these down and out characters.
Nothing terrible happens as a result of Freddy Malins' drinking in "The Dead," even though he's definitely drunk. In Dubliners, drinking is only a problem when it hurts others.