In April 2019, actress Anne Hathaway revealed to Tatler magazine that she plans to quit drinking until her son is 18. Hathaway’s son with husband Adam Shulman was born in 2016, which means her next drink won’t be until 2035.

Hathaway shared that she had multiple reasons to quit drinking. She explains she does not drink in moderation. She has gone to parties she doesn’t remember and attended meetings in which she was not herself. Binge drinking is a problem for her that has resulted in impairing hangovers.

Regular binge drinking can be a dangerous cycle. People in the public eye, like Hathaway, who make a lifestyle change to address unhealthy behavior can set a great example for others to examine their own habits. It’s also an opportunity to revisit our cultural understanding of the negative effects of excessive alcohol consumption.

Binge Drinking and a 5-Day Hangover

For Anne Hathaway, she has clear reasons to the question, “why I quit drinking.” Between hangovers, lost time and the effects on her family life, she decided that she no longer liked the role alcohol played in her life.

In interviews, Hathaway has shared stories of day drinking all the way into an evening birthday party that resulted in a five-day hangover and nights out with co-stars that later impaired her work. Describing the incident to the television talk show host Ellen, Hathaway explains that she couldn’t remember the day due to her alcohol use. The next day, she met with a producer but was so hungover that she couldn’t function normally.

Another time, Hathaway recalled dropping her son off at school hungover. While she says she wasn’t driving, she was very unwell. She deeply regrets the way she felt in those moments and not being fully present for her son.

Hathaway’s revelation that she quit drinking came as a surprise to some, as the actress has not previously been known for partying or having a problem with drinking. While many believe they don’t have a problem with drinking because they don’t do it every day or they don’t feel like they “have” to drink, drinking in excess or binge drinking is considered problem drinking.

The cost of binge drinking extends beyond personal impact. Here are some of the other costs associated with binge drinking.

  • Economic Cost of Binge Drinking: Binge drinking can negatively impact the economy through losses in workplace productivity, health care costs and law enforcement expenses, including those associated with car crashes. In 2010, the cost of excessive alcohol use in the U.S. was $249 billion. Most of these costs were due to binge drinking.
  • Health Effects of Binge Drinking: Even though patterns of addiction or problem drinking can be overlooked or dismissed as “partying,” serious health issues can be growing both mentally and physically. According to the CDC, some of the serious risks to health include injuries, disease, cancer and alcohol dependence.
  • Social Costs of Binge Drinking: Binge drinking can steal time away from friends and family, even days after the event. Like Hathaway noticed, spending time recovering from binges makes you unavailable or unable to be fully present for the rest of your social and family life.

The Decision to Quit Drinking

Ultimately, Anne Hathaway decided to quit drinking. She had many reasons, but her primary motivation was being there for her son. This priority prompted her to quit drinking alcohol for the next 18 years or until he moves out of the house. Could this be a key to preventing him from drinking?

Children who grow up in homes with parents who have drinking issues often develop addictions themselves. Because they don’t witness a healthy environment or attitude toward alcohol in the home, they can struggle to set boundaries in their own lives.

In fact, modeling a healthy relationship with alcohol could be beneficial. Studies have found that parents are the most important influence on their children’s attitudes about alcohol and that adolescents who were allowed sips of alcohol from their parents were more likely to drink as teenagers but less likely to binge.

Hathaway’s decision to abstain from alcohol demonstrates a healthy choice because she admits that she “will never be that person who can nurse a glass of wine throughout an entire evening.”

One Day at a Time (Or 18 Years)

For many people who struggle with alcohol addiction, the goal is to quit drinking forever. Anne Hathaway has currently decided to stop drinking for 18 years, or until her son moves out. A commitment to total or temporary sobriety is a way of setting a recovery goal. Recovery goals and understanding your internal and external sources of motivation are powerful tools in addiction recovery.

Recovery happens one day at a time. Addiction is a chronic condition that is often tied to multiple other mental health issues and personal routines. It takes time to change the patterns and habits of addiction, as well as to identify and shift impulses to drink.

If you or someone you know struggles with alcohol addiction, The Recovery Village can help. Find a center near you or use our online resources to learn more about how to begin your own recovery journey.