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ABC News anchor Elizabeth Vargas: 'I am an alcoholic'

Elizabeth Vargas: 'I Am An Alcoholic'

NEW YORK (AP) - ABC News reporter Elizabeth Vargas has publicly acknowledged that she's an alcoholic, and said it took her years to admit it.

In an interview aired Friday on "Good Morning America," Vargas said hiding her problem from others was exhausting.

"Even to admit it to myself was admitting, I thought, that I was a failure," said Vargas, who noted that she had reported several "20/20" specials on drinking yet couldn't acknowledge her own alcohol dependency.

She said she had suffered panic attacks since she was a child.

"I dealt with that anxiety, and with the stress that the anxiety brought, by starting to drink," she said.

Her go-to drink was wine which, increasingly during her adulthood, she used to manage her anxiety and stress. Her drinking "slowly escalated and got worse and worse," she said.

Meanwhile, she tried to bargain with herself.

"I started thinking, 'Well, you know, I'll only drink, you know, on weekends,'" she recalled. "'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."

She said her husband, singer-songwriter Marc Cohn, wasn't fooled.

"You have a problem. You're an alcoholic," she said he told her, adding that his words "made me really angry, really angry. But he was right."

Last fall, Vargas spent several weeks in a treatment facility and is now in Alcoholics Anonymous. She told "GMA" co-anchor George Stephanopoulos in the interview taped Thursday that she's proud of confronting her problem.

She said she's "learning to accept that I'm human, that there's nothing wrong with failing, that there's nothing wrong with feeling anxiety."

And she said she's ready to resume her duties Friday night as co-anchor of "20/20."

Vargas, 51, has worked in network news since 1993, first with NBC and then ABC, which she joined in 1996.

"Is it hard not to drink?" Stephanopoulos asked her.

"Yeah," Vargas replied.

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Hey Sweetie January 24 2014 at 4:09 PM

I have almost 26 yrs of being sober...I go to face 2 face meetings and also go to AAonline for meetings at night..
Get into a home group and find a sponser to help you work on the steps..

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kulween January 24 2014 at 3:43 PM

Best of health Elizabeth .

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rkin542 January 24 2014 at 3:42 PM

Everyday it gets better and easier. You know inside what you have to do to succeed. Dont give in to that one drink and you will be fine..Congratulations

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Albert January 24 2014 at 3:39 PM

Ekizabeth --- I am proud of you and really happy that you sought help as I did may years ago. You see I too am an alcoholic and thanks to a loving family got help about 25 years ago and have not had a drink since then. I too decided not to hide the fact that I am and alcoholic and when I came out of rehab I was really selfconscious that "eveybody knew". I too started going to AA meetings and the only thing people said was "Welcome -- I'm proud of you" So let me again pass that along.

I am very, very proud of you.


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jgraysmith January 24 2014 at 3:39 PM

It's been 28 years this past November since I've drank any alcohol. I'm happy Elizabeth has confronted her addiction, and wish her the best with AA. However, my freedom from the bondage of alcohol came from the touch of Jesus Christ who totally set me free. There is a scripture in the bible that declares in John 8:38 "If therefore the Son (Jesus) shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." From the day he set me free to this day twenty-eight years later I have never desired one single drink of alcohol.

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Frank January 24 2014 at 3:37 PM

Good luck keep strong

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northridgesue January 24 2014 at 3:36 PM

I think it is great that first of all you are no longer in denial and that you are willing to share with others your story. That's what we were all created to be here for. To help one and other. To love each other and to walk through life together in trials and tribulations, and victories. May the Good Lord give you all the strength, wisdom, courage, and support you need through this journey. One day at a time. There is a Christ based recovery program for all hurts, hangups, and addictions of all kinds that I have been blessed to be a part of for the last seven years, it is changing so many lives. It's called Celebrate Recovery check it out. It has helped people world wide. God Bless!

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Claire January 24 2014 at 3:36 PM

Its never to late to change -Take one day at a time-Make TCOE your new years resolution=Take care of ElizabethMay God Guide You/

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Jim Mulligan January 24 2014 at 8:07 PM

I think her health will be so much better and she will be a better person if she just stay close to her program. Very brave woman. What a person to be proud of.

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dawndecuir553 January 24 2014 at 3:35 PM

congrats Elizabeth! Beleive it or not, there are probably thousands of people out there like me that want the best for you and are feeling proud of you for doing such a brave thing. Love Ya

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