• Thomas Bonifield

Patricia Heaton Recalls the Embarrassing Incident That Prompted Her to Stop Drinking

It involved her adult children and so shook up the Christian actress that she has not had any alcohol since.

Patricia Heaton poses during a photo shoot in 2019.
Patricia Heaton poses during a photo shoot in 2019. Image: Patricia Heaton/Instagram/Jack Guy Photography.

To her credit, Patricia Heaton has been quite open about her decision to stop drinking, announcing in a social media post back in July that she was celebrating "three years of freedom from alcohol." And the former star of Everybody Loves Raymond and the faith-based movie Moms' Night Out, has done so with an eye towards helping others.


Now comes a revealing look at how the 63-year-old mother of four adult children reached her decision. Up to that point, she had progressively become a more regular drinker, she tells the Heart of the Matter podcast with Elizbeth Vargas. In fact, Heaton thought that she could become an alcoholic if something did not change.


During a trip to Nashville, she was visiting with three of her boys and some of their friends and had imbibed a good deal of wine: "We drank while we were making dinner. We drank while we were eating dinner. We drank while we cleaned up."


That took place over the course of five or six hours and Heaton states that she "felt completely sober and fine." The group, about 10 people, then began playing a board game and it became clear that was not the case.

"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."

As bad as that was, it soon got worse: one of her boys called her out on it in front of the group.

"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."

That moment of embarrassment turned out, however, to be the catalyst for positive change. The very next morning, Heaton decided to quit drinking, which was a huge step because she feels alcohol was "the hardest thing" in her life to move away from. Praise God that He "works all things for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose," as Romans 8:28 puts it...even humiliation.


On the career front, the actress has another faith-based movie coming out next year entitled Unbreakable Boy, which is written and directed by Christian filmmaker Jon Gunn and co-stars Zachary Levi; Christian Film Blog will bring you updates as we get them. In the meantime, you can check out Heaton's full interview on Heart of the Matter via this link to the podcast.