Two months after the anchor of ABC’s 20/20 news program, Elizabeth Vargas, enrolled herself in rehab for alcohol abuse she has come clean to fellow ABC employee George Stephanopoulos on the Good Morning America show, saying that she is an alcoholic.
In a visibly emotional interview with her colleague, Vargas told Stephanopoulos that she is “really proud of that [she] did,” referring to checking herself into rehab and admitting the extent of her problem with alcohol.
She told Good Morning America that she is definitely an alcoholic. She added that it took her a very long time to realize that and to tell her family, but she has finally done both.
Vargas added that the amount of time and energy that she has to employ to keep this secret hidden from her employer and her family was incredibly exhausting. Interestingly, she also commented on how she had done special reports on her show about alcoholism but had never thought that they truly applied to her.
“I started thing ‘Well, you know, I’ll only drink on weekends.” She said. She also said that she made deals with herself such as only drinking two glasses of wine per night and never drinking the night before a Good Morning America show, but she soon realized that those promises and deals she made with herself never lasted.
Vargas finished two stints of rehab in November and says she is ready to go back to work. She acknowledges that there are day to day anxieties that influence her towards drinking, and that anchoring a fast paced news program is one of them, but said she feels confident she can “cope” with the situations that drove her towards alcohol.
She added that she does not have to be a perfect person in order to be a happy one. She says her sponsor and her family and friends have been great and a big help in over coming this disease.
Vargas also told some heartbreaking stories about her drinking problem that she says should have alerted her to the extent of her problem much sooner. She says that at one point her son, Zachary, would call wine “mommy’s juice” and that it seemed crazy to her that her son would make such a rash comparison. She also says that her husband, Marc Cohn, told her to get help, told her she was an alcoholic and that it only made her angry with her husband to hear that. Eventually she said, she realized he was right.
Vargas added that she knew she was ready to leave treatment when she began to realize that she was human and that there was not anything wrong with feeling anxiety. She added that it felt like a “psychic change” to her.
There is no news at this moment as to when Vargas will return to air as an anchor, interviewing and reporting. She did say, however, back in November, that she was thankful to have an employer like ABC. After, admitting that she is an alcoholic to the public she says that she is ready to return to work.
By Nick Manai