Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Couple That Drinks Together

With Valentine's Day coming up this week, I want to talk about love. Love of each other - and love of drinking. Because it's interesting to note how the individual drinking levels of spouses can have a real impact on marriages.

A new study to be published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research in May suggests that first of all, heavy drinking is a big indicator of divorce - and always has been. Secondly, that divorced people drink more than married people. And thirdly, how the difference in drinking levels between spouses can doom a marriage from the start. For instance, if one person drinks much more than the other, this is an incompatible drinking pattern and the relationship is more likely to end in divorce - especially if it's the woman who drinks more.

On the other hand, if a couple has compatible or similar drinking levels (they both drink a little or a lot) they're more likely to stay hitched in the long run.

I can definitely see how drinking patterns have affected people I know over the years. Both of my parents drank - and I'm sure that contributed to their divorce. Not to mention the fights. I was too young to remember who drank more, but I do know this: they didn't really drink together. They had stopped being friends. They each began to find "fun" in other parts of their lives. Along with a lot of other marital issues - including several separations - the divorce was finalized when I was about six.

I sometimes see other couples - friends and acquaintances - who show different drinking habits and almost instinctively I know it's trouble. And it often is.

My husband doesn't drink a lot - thank God. He never really did. But for the first ten years of our relationship, I was drinking very heavily - and doing a lot of it in private, without his knowledge. It was an awful burden, for me, for us, for the relationship. I'm sure if I hadn't somehow gotten control of the situation, the D-word would've come up eventually. As much as my husband loved me, I'm not sure he could've put up with my habit forever. It was ruining both of our lives. But now that our drinking patterns are more similar - and I'm not that same out-of-control person anymore - our relationship is more balanced, more loving - and much more fun!

He's the biggest fan of how cleansing works - next to yours truly, of course. ;) ;)  He even offered to write the foreward for the e-book version of You've Got Another Drink Coming due out soon. I didn't ask for it and I didn't edit it when it was done - and the first few times I read it, I cried. I know how much cleansing has helped me, but it's amaaaaazing to know how much it's helped him, too.

So as Valentine's approaches and we run around for the candy, the flowers, the bubbly - and whatever else the holiday means to us - let's be grateful for all the love we have in our lives. Whether that's a spouse, a lover, a child, a parent, a friend, a puppy - or ourselves. Because that's where love has to start. And as corny as it sounds, I know one thing: I love myself a lot more now than before I started cleansing.

Here's more on that study about drinking similarity and divorce rates from Medical News Today.

And if you're looking for love, here's a recent newsletter from Dr. Wayne Dyer. It doesn't really have anything to do with drinking (except that Dr. Wayne quit himself many years ago after worrying that his beer habit was becoming a problem). But it does have to do with love. And whether we're between partners or just need a fresh way of seeing the one we have, the idea that loving feelings attract more loving feelings - and loving people - into our lives, is one that never goes out of style. Valentine's Day or not. Here it is, Dr. Wayne Dyer on happiness, love - and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

And for more serious love seekers,  Looking For Love: It's Not Where You Look, It's Who You Are also in this recent newsletter. Dr. Wayne's all about the love!