While it's been stated for a while that one drink a day was good for you, a recent study surprised me a bit.
It seems (on average) that moderate drinkers live the longest, but surprisingly heavy drinkers outlive teetotalers.
"But even after controlling for nearly all imaginable variables ? socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, number of close friends, quality of social support and so on ? the researchers (a six-member team led by psychologist Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin) found that over a 20-year period, mortality rates were highest for those who were not current drinkers, regardless of whether they used to be alcoholics, second highest for heavy drinkers and lowest for moderate drinkers."
It seems they credit alcohol with increasing social interaction, and possibly lessening depression.
"One important reason is that alcohol lubricates so many social interactions, and social interactions are vital for maintaining mental and physical health. As I pointed out last year, nondrinkers show greater signs of depression than those who allow themselves to join the party."
I have to wonder what would the results be if one of the variables controlled was excluding all singles who did not belong to a social organization. Religious services would count as social events in this context. As would any activity that involved frequent attendance to events with large numbers present. That would include such things as regularly attending a favorite team's games, community theater, supporting sports for little kids, working as a volunteer anywhere from a soup kitchen to the local library or school.
I like a drink myself. And recently indulged in a few liquors I haven't tasted in years because of cost. But I normally stop at two or three when I do drink now, and often there are several days when I don't at all. But given all the bad that excessive drinking can do, it's surprising to me that even with overall averages heavy drinkers outlive current teetotalers.