Could a joint short-term break from alcohol give your relationship a boost?

Alcohol plays a role in most relationships. In fact, studies show that both parties are regular drinkers in roughly half of all marriages. However, 21% of marriages involve at least one heavy drinker while 4% are between two people who both drink more than 14 (men) and 10 (women) alcoholic beverages per week.

If either of you fall into the category of AUD drinkers - there are over 14.5 million Americans that do - regaining control of your relationship with alcohol will be a priority. However, you do not have to be long-term problematic drinkers to enjoy the potential benefits of a temporary break from alcohol.

People have been drinking more since the pandemic, as is confirmed by a 54% spike in alcohol sales, and couples are not exempt. Unfortunately, an increase in frequency and/or volume of consumption may bring a list of serious consequences. The list includes but is not limited to;

  • Physical health issues - such as increased blood pressure, liver damage, and greater risk of stroke or heart disease.

  • Mental health issues - such as anxiety, which has been statistically and anecdotally linked to excessive alcohol consumption.

  • Sexual health issues - such as erectile dysfunction and/or lost libido on either male or female drinkers.

Of course, excessive drinking can additionally lead to irresponsible behavior in relation to financial management and/or cheating. In short, married couples with one heavy drinker are more likely to divorce than those where both individuals have a healthy relationship with booze. Couples who are both heavy drinkers are at significant risk of breaking up too.

Even if your drinking hasn’t become excessive, the change in consumption habits can be damaging. As the studies above allude to, there is a heightened chance that you will grow apart if only one of you is a heavy drinker.

Making a joint commitment to take a temporary break can give your relationship a new lease of life. Dry January is the perfect example of how you can make it fun and competitive without missing out on many social activities. In return, your relationship can see the following benefits;

  • Feel less irritable around each other due to hangovers and the lasting effects of alcohol,

  • Enjoy greater intimacy as your sexual health improves along with your personal body image and self-confidence,

  • Be more available for each other and enjoy alcohol-free dates - unavailability is one of the leading factors for relationships to end as a result of alcohol,

  • Feel more confident around each other due to reduced anxiety while also being less secretive or prone to arguments,

  • Have more money for dates, home improvements, and other purchases that will leave you both smiling.

If nothing else, taking a break from alcohol will make future parties feel more exciting. Establishing a sense of balance is truly the key to a happy life and relationship. If you are going to take on the challenge, though, you must prepare in style. Educate yourselves on how big a standard drink is, use each other for motivation, and use rewards at key milestones.

Taking a detox isn’t easy, but working together will give you the best shot at success.