Elizabeth Vargas Speaks Out: “I Am an Alcoholic”

    January 24, 2014

ABC News anchor Elizabeth Vargas is embarking on a new journey, and its alcohol-free. On Friday, Jan. 24, the 51-year-old television journalist returned to TV for the first time since her stint in rehab last fall for alcoholism, says Hollywood Reporter

In an interview with Good Morning America, Vargas publicly acknowledged her addiction, revealing how exhausting it has been to conceal the problem for so long.

“I am. I am an alcoholic,” she told GMA co-anchor George Stephanopoulos. “The amount of energy I expended keeping that secret and keeping this problem hidden from view was exhausting,” she said.

“Even to admit it to myself was admitting, I thought, that I was a failure,” said Vargas. “It took me a long time to admit that to myself,” she explained. “It took me a long time to admit it to my family, but I am.”

She also mentioned that she’d personally conducted a number of “20/20” segments on alcoholism, but couldn’t acknowledge her own dependency.

Vargas went on to reveal the very moment she realized she had a serious problem. The 20/20 anchor recounted one day where she was “in no shape” to even conduct an interview. She also admitted that she had a preference for wine, as a means of coping with stress levels and anxiety as her drinking “slowly escalated and got worse and worse,” she said.

“At night I — that was a ritual,” she said.”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 also admitted to bargaining with herself as a means of justifying the problem. “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,” Vargas recalled. “But those deals never work.”

Back in November, Vargas announced that she would be seeking help and spent a number of weeks in a rehabilitation facility. She also tweeted that she had left rehab two weeks after the initial announcement. 

She is proud that she’s been able to admit and deal with her problem. “I have a sponsor. I have great, great friends who I love and who love me,” she said. “Alcohol for me is no longer an option.”

Vargas will resume her role as co-anchor on 20/20 tonight.

Image via Facebook | Elizabeth Vargus