Controlled for those factors, the happiness boost fell to 4 points, but that remains a statistically significant boost in happiness.
While there weren't significantly different responses based on who people were drinking with, drinking could have a dramatic impact on reported happiness based on what kind of activity it accompanied.
"Drinking had the greatest impact when it came alongside otherwise unenjoyable activities (traveling/commuting, waiting), and only increased the happiness of already enjoyable activities by smaller amounts (socializing, making love)."
So, next time you go to the DMV, brown-bagging it might give a lot of bang for your buck.
Drinkers reported higher satisfaction in the moment of drinking, but any spillover into other moments were "in question... and more inconsistent," and that wasn't just about regrets and hangovers.
Additionally, in the longterm, drinking didn't make people more happy or unhappy, except where drinking problems arose.
Overall, the study didn't reveal anything that wasn't assumed about drinking, but putting that in a scientific framework is important. "The conventional way that government economists (at least in the UK) value the wellbeing impacts of drinking – assuming that we are all rational and fully-informed for every drink – are simply wrong," Geiger told Thrillist.