Men who moderate their alcohol intake generally lead happier, more fulfilling lives, a 75-year long Harvard study shows. In 1938, the Grant Study set out following 268 Harvard undergraduate men in order to determine what factors contribute most strongly to human flourishing. Dr. George Vaillant, who directed the extensive and detailed project for over 30 years, discovered there was a direct correlation between a man\u2019s drinking habits and his overall level of health and well-being. Alcohol: The Greatest Contributor to Failed Marriages During his research, Vaillant realized some of the Harvard men expressed a higher level of happiness. These same men excelled at loving others and being loved; they also didn\u2019t abuse alcohol. \u201cHappiness is love,\u201d Vaillant says, and aside from schizophrenia, the best way to push love away is alcoholism. Vaillant also found that the majority of the men from the Harvard sample who had happy and satisfying marriages drank moderately, while 57 percent of the men who divorced drank alcoholically. Excessive drinking was determined to be the single greatest culprit in the failed marriages, and in nearly every instance preceded the men\u2019s marital problems. Throughout the many years of the Grant Study, Vaillant followed up with the participants on over 60 different occasions and learned that not abusing alcohol, along with not smoking, were \u201cby far the most important things you could do [to live longer].\u201d Debunking Myths About Alcoholism The Grant Study also illuminated the cause and effect relationship between unhappy childhoods and adolescent alcohol abuse. While it is commonly believed adult alcoholics are born from a troubled upbringing, Vaillant says that\u2019s not the case. \u201cWhat a study like this shows is that, first, lots of alcoholics invent an unhappy childhood to justify their drinking,\u201d Vaillant says. \u201cSecond: if any alcoholic\u2019s childhood is miserable, it\u2019s because a blood relative has alcoholism. If the unhappy childhood is the result of an alcoholic stepparent, the person doesn\u2019t drink to relive the misery. So it\u2019s the genetic component of alcoholism that matters.\u201d But just because one is an alcoholic doesn\u2019t mean they have to stay an alcoholic. Of those Harvard men who suffered from alcohol abuse during the course of the study, nearly 50 percent found reprieve from their disease through AA, a feat, Vaillant says, that is nothing short of \u201cremarkable.\u201d Another theory that was disproved by the Grant Study was that depression leads to alcoholism. In fact, Vaillant says, it\u2019s the other way around. \u201cDepression does not lead to alcoholism, whereas alcoholism leads to depression,\u201d Vaillant says. \u201cIf you take 100 cases, you can find two or three exceptions, but that\u2019s all. People didn\u2019t really know that before the Grant study.\u201d The Destructive Power of Alcoholism The Grant Study has been groundbreaking for both its longevity and findings, the most important of which, Vaillant says, is that \u201calcoholism is a disorder of great destructive power.\u201d The research-based discoveries yielded by the Grant Study show that drinking moderately, or not at all, leads to a long and happy life. In addition, drinking responsibly not only improves men\u2019s ability to love, but also the quality of their marriages.