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People with biological predispositions to alcohol abuse are more likely to stay sober if they marry, according to a study of more than 3.2 million Swedes reported at this year’s conference of the American Psychiatric Association.

Researchers assessed more than 3.2 million Swedish residents born between 1960 and 1990, controlling for the frequently confounding factors of socioeconomic status, prior criminal and/or substance abuse behaviors, and family history of alcohol abuse.

Lead researcher Kenneth Kendler, MD, of Virginia Commonwealth University, noted that the data-based research did not meet the standards of a controlled experiment, but

  • Supports the value of social relationships, including 12-step groups, in treating patients with substance use disorders.

“Of course we want to think about the biology, but the social influences are very potent,” Kendler said in a press briefing. “These strong causal effects are occurring at the level of culture and relationships.”

Recovery depends on relationships, for all of us. If one part of God’s Body hurts, we are all weakened; when we aid one another, we all grow stronger.

How have relationships helped in your recovery and effective living?