Elizabeth Vargas has opened up about her struggle with alcoholism and the road to recovery during a “Good Morning America” appearance on Friday.
“I am. I am an alcoholic,” the “20/20” anchor told “GMA” co-anchor George Stephanopoulos.
“It took me a long time to admit that to myself. It took me a long time to admit it to my family, but I am.”
“The amount of energy I expended keeping that secret and keeping this problem hidden from view was exhausting,” Vargas revealed.
The 51-year-old TV personality explained that she had done specials on “20/20” about alcohol abuse but was unable to see her own problem with drinking.
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“I started thinking ‘Well, you know, I’ll only drink, you know, on weekends. I’ll only drink, you know, two glasses of wine a night. I won’t drink on nights before I have to get up and do ‘Good Morning America.’ But those deals never work.”
Vargas completed two stints in rehab in November and is now ready to go back to work, however, she admitted part of what led her to the bottle was her battle with stress and panic attacks.
“I dealt with that anxiety, and with the stress that the anxiety brought by starting to drink. And it slowly escalated and got worse and worse.”
Vargas reflected on how her family handled what was happening to her.
“‘You have a problem. You’re an alcoholic,” husband Marc Cohn told her.
“It made me really angry, really angry. But he was right,” she added.
“I mean, denial is huge for any alcoholic.”
Vargas said she began to realize she needed help when it started affecting her work on “20/20″ and she was “in no shape” to do an interview one day.
Her two sons, ages 7 and 10, even started to notice her drinking habits.
“At night I — that was a ritual,” she explained of consuming wine regularly.
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“I should’ve realized it was a problem way back when Zachary, my oldest son, was born. And he used to call my nightly glass of wine ‘mommy’s juice.’ You know, and I thought that was hysterical. It didn’t occur to me that that was a problem.
“I felt like I had to be, you know, perfect, which is ridiculous, nobody’s perfect.”
Vargas first stayed in rehab for 28 days before leaving against the doctors’ suggestion, but ended up returning after being home for only five days.
“You know, this isn’t what I want to be known for, but I’m really proud of what I did,” she told Stephanopoulos.
He then asked her what made her realize she was finally ready to leave the facility.
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“It’s a psychic change, I think. I mean, it’s learning to accept that I’m human. That there’s nothing wrong with failing, that there’s nothing wrong with feeling anxiety.”
Vargas explained her absence to her children by telling them she was allergic to alcohol.
“I didn’t want to use the word ‘disease’ with them, even though that’s how it’s classified by the medical profession. It’s too scary, you know, the connotation for them is disease is something deadly … and we explained that I was going away to get better. And they came and visited me.”
As far how she is currently maintaining her sobriety, she said she is now “part of AA.”
“I have a sponsor. I have great, great friends who I love and who love me.”
Vargas adamantly told Stephanopoulos, “Alcohol for me is no longer an option.” Article Link…