Everybody Loves Raymond star Patricia Heaton recently spoke with Elizabeth Vargas on the “Heart of the Matter” podcast about her sobriety. Her drinking had been gradually increasing, which ultimately led to an “embarrassing” incident with her grown-up sons and, eventually, led her to choose sobriety.
Heaton was in Nashville visiting three of her four sons, who were all in their 20s. She brought a couple of bottles of wine for the gathering. “We drank while we were making dinner. We drank while we were eating dinner. We drank while we cleaned up. And then we were drinking while we were all playing this board game,” she explains.
Patricia Heaton gets open and honest about her sobriety
“There were like 10 of us there: three of my sons, and then their friends. And I was just filling my glass with red wine throughout the five or six hours that we were together. I don’t know how many glasses it was, and I felt completely sober and fine.”
“I was making a joke to the table, and I started saying, ‘You know, in our family it’s a tradition…’ And I could not pronounce the word ‘tradition.’ And I tried three times, and I couldn’t say the word. And I can’t even mispronounce it for you the way that I was mispronouncing it. I can’t remember.”
She felt like her brain was just wasting away
It was this verbal mess-up that caused her to rethink her relationship with alcohol. “And my son at the end of the table says, ‘Oh great, mom. You can’t even talk.’ And I was so humiliated in front of my sons, and their friends… And God knows that that’s all it takes for me — for that kind of sense of their mom looking drunk in front of them.”
“But also, I thought, ‘I feel fine. What is happening in my brain? What is the alcohol doing to my brain where the synapses are misfiring to the point where I can’t say this word? And I’m trying to say it and I can’t say it.’ It’s almost like having a stroke or something. And it shook me up. And I thought, ‘That’s it. That’s it.'” That’s truly when Patricia Heaton decided her sobriety was more important than a glass of wine.
She truly felt like she was drinking too much, even before that incident
Even before that moment, Heaton admits that she saw herself potentially becoming an alcoholic “down the road.” And even so, a day earlier, she had already been toying with the idea of quitting drinking. “And there were a couple factors. Like my boys are in their 20s, it’s going to be at least probably 10 years before there’s a possibility of grandchildren, God willing,” she says.
“That would make me around 73. So, I just thought, I need to have my brain … It’s going anyway, I don’t want to add to it with the alcohol. So, I need to have my brain clean so I can be present if, God willing, I should get grandchildren in my 70s. And I also just felt like I am just drinking too much.”