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Elizabeth Vargas Back On TV, ‘I’m An Alcoholic’

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Elizabeth Vargas made her television return this week following a lengthy rehab stay, admitting publicly that she is an alcoholic. Vargas entered rehab last fall, and actually returned home once prior to completing her program, believing she was ready to go home and deal with her problems herself. She quickly learned she wasn’t and returned to the program–staying until doctors deemed her ready to leave.

Elizabeth Vargas returned to TV Friday in a pre-taped interview with George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America.

“I am an alcoholic,” she admitted. “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.”

Vargas says the moment she truly knew she needed help came when she realized she wasn’t in any kind of shape to do a scheduled interview. She says wine was always her drink of choice.

“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,” she said.

Marc Cohn, Elizabeth Vargas’s husband, previously told her she needed help, but Vargas wasn’t ready to even think about his statement’s implications.

“‘You have a problem. You’re an alcoholic,’” she recalled her husband saying to her. “It made me really angry, really angry. But he was right.”

As with many alcoholics, Elizabeth dealt with two common triggers–stress and anxiety–that led her to those glasses of wine.

That’s exhausting, to live like that,” she explained. “And it becomes very easy to think ‘I deserve this glass of wine. I’m so stressed out . . .’”

“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,” she added. “But those deals never work.”

During an interview on 20/20 Friday night, Vargas recalls suffering from anxiety and having panic attacks ever since she was a little girl and her dad was deployed to Vietnam. She begged her mom not to leave her with babysitters to go to work, fearing she wouldn’t come back for a long time either.

These days Elizabeth leans on her family–husband Marc and sons Zachary, who is almost 11, and Samuel, who is 7, when she feels panic attacks or even milder bouts of anxiety coming on.

“I’m part of AA,” she said. “I have a sponsor. I have great, great friends who I love and who love me.”

Elizabeth Vargas is a huge part of 20/20 and fans will no doubt be thrilled to see her return to its helm as anchor. With the regular support she now receives for alcoholism–and her outspoken admission to her friends and her viewers–she will not only serve to help others take that important first step, but is far better equipped to deal with her own addiction, too.

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Elizabeth Vargas Back On TV, ‘I’m An Alcoholic’
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  • http://webpronews lak

    Just a quick congratulations to Elizabeth for her courage to speak out and best of luck in her continued battle with this life changing disease. Your life will get better and better each day! I know.

  • Kate Slu

    My thoughts & prayers are with you!! So happy you're back!! Your presence enhances every news show you've ever done! Best wishes always!

  • http://www.coffeysplace.blogspot.com Jeanne

    I'm glad she got help for herself, and wish her luck, but I hope the article is wrong that she leans on her 7 and 11 year old sons when she feels a panic attack, or anxiety coming on. Her husband is fine to lean on, but not her children. That's too much burden to put on a child. Counseling would be good, and learning some other coping modalities like meditation, or EFT, but please don't burden the children at such young ages.

  • ray

    Why don't these brainless celebs read the book and get a sponsor before they go on TV and announce to one and all their membership in AA. Don't they have sponsors? Or is it like the rest of their lives,,"I'm important and the rules DON'T apply to me" It is called alcoholics ANONYMOUS for a reason.

  • http://anned922@yahoo.com Anne Derbes

    You are such an inspiration to bring your story to television. You should be proud of yourself. By your story, I am sure you have helped millions who needed someone to say it is okay to admit to your situation. No one understands the true meaning of being an alcoholic. There are so many types. My ex-husband was an alcoholic but was an alcoholic that drank every day, went to work, and drank after work until he went to sleep every nite. It ruined our marriage. I got help from many groups of alanon. It is a dreadful disease people don't realize until they learn about it as you have. I have helped many by my learning about the disease. Elizabeth you are the greatest. Thank you for sharing your story. Happy new life for you. God Bless u!

  • Phil

    Lots of women are alcoholics. Go to college campuses and look. Women are the new alcoholics. That is also why rape is happening on college campuses. More and more women are having drunken sex and calling it rape. I have seen many cases where a girl is supposedly raped but she waits to get a rape kit done because she has to sober up. Then she goes and gets one done but can't remember the rape or her story changes. It changes because she was drunk of her ass and can't remember.

    This is something that no one talks about. The rise in the number of women alcoholics who claim rape. Doubt what I say? Go to any college campus and bar. Women are drinking like fish and going home with guys all the time.

    • @Phil

      I see what you are saying. Regret is not rape, but many women confuse the two and many men have their lives destroyed because of it. Look at all the rape cases now — almost all have alcohol involved. Take away the alcohol and many girls would not get raped. I am a college student and I have literally seen girls drink so they could have sex and have an excuse for having sex. It is the built in excuse —- I am not a slut —- I was just drunk. But the point is that they drank on purpose!! There are many false rape allegations in society. No one talks about this. In fact, most cops don't fill out paperwork on this. They just send both parties home but never document the false allegation.

  • Claudio

    Congratulations to Elizabeth for having the honesty and courgage to admit to herself that she is an alcoholic and for getting the help she needs and deserves. However, I cannot in good conscience congratulate her as having that same honesty and courage in publicly congratulating herself for belonging to a fellowship whose principles of anonymity are the very source that ensures its well-being and thereby the recovery of its members and their families. Any sponsor worth his or her salt would have advised her against shouting her membership from rooftops, lest we carry the wrong message. We check our titles and fame at the door when our desire to stop drinking becomes the primary purpose of our membership. I hope that she is not sponsoring herself. Nevertheless, welcome home Elizabeth.

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