Elizabeth Vargas admitted she was struggling with alcoholism. Vargas opened up about her addiction to George Stephanopoulos during an interview in Friday’s Good Morning America segment. She acknowledged she was an alcoholic, and it took Vargas a long time to admit it to both herself and her family.
The anchor for ABC’s television show 20/20 also told Stephanopoulos it was exhausting to hide the secret from everyone, and she realized she needed help when she arrived to work one day and felt she was in no shape to do an interview. She further described how she got out of her car and suddenly experienced an epiphany. According to Vargas, at that moment she knew it was time to get help for her addiction. She also mentioned to Stephanopoulos how embarrassing it is for her to have the entire world know her dark secret, yet in the long-term it is a blessing.
Vargas said her alcohol addiction began as an outlet to relieve stress, anxiety and panic attacks. For the latter, it began when she was a child and continued into adulthood. During the interview with Stephanopoulos, she admitted to having panic attacks on live television while she was anchoring in Chicago. The panic attacks continued when she joined ABC News and was named co-anchor of ABC World News Tonight. She started taking beta blockers because she was nervous and anxious while anchoring the evening news. As a result, she began rationalizing that she deserved to have a glass of wine.
The anchor said her husband had spoken to her about the addiction, but it was not until last year that she checked herself into rehab for alcoholism. Vargas stated she checked into a rehab facility that specializes in treating trauma. She stayed for about 28 days and decided to ignore center’s advice and left. The rehab center advised her she needed more treatment, but Vargas dismissed the instruction and returned home. After being home for five days, she realized the health specialists were right; therefore, she returned to the rehab center to complete treatment. ABC News expressed its support for Vargas.
20/20 drew its biggest audience in four years Friday night when Vargas returned to television after struggling with alcoholism and received treatment for it. Reports stated 20/20 had about eight million viewers. Sources also indicated Vargas was happy and said it was great to be back to co-anchor David Muir. She also thanked everyone, especially her viewers, for their support, saying it meant a lot to her.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 51.5 percent of adults 18 years of age and older are current regular alcohol drinkers, which means they have had 12 drinks in the past year. The number of alcoholic liver disease deaths for 2010 was 15,990. For the same year there were 25,692 alcohol-induced deaths, excluding homicides and accidents. In addition, a non-profit organization called the Caron Treatment Centers stated alcoholism and alcohol abuse are the most common and devastating problems in the United States.
For awhile Vargas was struggling with alcoholism, but she has received treatment and is back on television delivering news to viewers.
By Bridget Cunningham