After years of heavy drinking, Patricia Heaton, best known as the no-nonsense mom on "Everybody Loves Raymond," has been sober since 2018. She chose to be on the path to sobriety after an embarrassing situation in front of her adult sons.
Heaton, 63, revealed in a podcast interview with Elizabeth Vargas that she was visiting her grown kids in Nashville when something snapped in her that led to quitting alcohol. During a family gathering with her 20-something boys and their friends, Heaton didn't realize that she had too much wine until she started cracking a joke, but she couldn't pronounce one word right.
One of her boys remarked about her slurred speech and behavior due to the alcohol, which brought her to her senses. Heaton said that it humiliated her to realize that her sons saw her in her worst drunken state.
Heavy Drinking is the Norm
Heaton said she used to drink a lot because this was the norm from where she grew up in Cleveland. Her penchant for alcohol became worse after raising four boys under five over 20 years ago. She said drinking was her reason to relax from her duties as a mother and working on the set of her hit TV show at the same time. When her sons, with husband David Hunt, grew up and moved out of the house, Heaton said she still drank alcohol as an empty nester.
"I really started looking forward to drinking and thinking about it in a way that I hadn't before," the mother said.
The actress does not want to call herself an alcoholic but admitted that she could very well flip to that side of the coin. She tried giving up the vice many times before but couldn't muster the willpower to stop drinking alcohol with her sons and their friends until that situation.
Three years since her sobriety, Heaton believes that she can do anything after her struggles with alcohol. Her experience with drinking was different from trying cocaine in the 1980s because she was able to stop the bad habit easily simply because she didn't like the effects of the drugs. She said that cocaine triggered her depression.
Advice from Peter Boyle
Heaton also recounted that Peter Boyle, her beloved co-star on "Everybody Loves Raymond," used to give her advice on quitting alcohol. The elderly actor, who passed away in 2006, was also trying to stay sober in the world of Hollywood.
Boyle, who was her father-in-law in the series, told Heaton that drinking could be a mind-over-matter situation since he just needed to think about the effects of alcohol to stop the craving. Heaton has tried to apply this in her life of sobriety today, saying that she usually gives herself 30 to 60 seconds before reaching out for a bottle or a glass of wine. She said that the urge would usually subside.
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