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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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MANNY ALBITE January 24 2014 at 9:53 PM

I don't have an alcohol problem, my first drink like in3 month was the dec 31 2013, had 3 drinks of Pinch 15 years old, then 3 days ago I finish the bottle and as I am writing this I am having a glass of wine, I say this because sometimes a drink will help with the problems of life like right now, I do understand that some people do drink more than they need while others do have a problem, but I am speaking for myself, I know this drink I am having tonight will calm me down and stop me from doing some thing stupid, because right now my life is a mess and the more i try and try to do the right thing the people around me are making it really hard, so I decided just for tonight have a drink and go to sleep, and to Vargas in a way I am proud of her, but lets get serious people this woman problem is she id hooke to drinking, I know her job is very demanding but she does get pay well, while other womens are having such a hard life and with no or very little money living in porverty and this comes to my mind ( Poverty is the worst form of violence) good night all and please stay strong and never blame others for your troubles.

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Oswald Assanah: MANNY ALBITE January 24 2014 at 10:33 PM

Elizabeth I Applaud you!! You are not alone. There are many out here who are struggling with alcohol nothing to be shame about Elizabeth....

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landslowrance January 25 2014 at 1:15 AM

Good luck Elizabeth. Don't put to much pressure on yourself. One Day At A Time.

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hey January 24 2014 at 4:06 PM

why do these people think it is necessary to air their dirty laundry in public, I like her on the tv but I don't need to know about this or all these celebrities need to say they are gay or lesbian, I sure would not feel the need to say I am straight or I don't drink or do drugs,

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Joyce January 24 2014 at 4:07 PM

Good for her. My husband had to face the same conclusion. His drink of choice was wine, also.
The stories seem very similar. He went into treatment and now goes faithfully to AA. He has been sober since Sept 21, 2013. The struggle continues..everyday. He wakes up and says "I'm not going to drink TODAY". That is the approach you have to take.

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captj1 Joyce January 24 2014 at 4:40 PM


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Clare January 24 2014 at 4:07 PM

Thank you Elizabeth for sharing this, it will help so many people. Wishing you lots of luck in everything you do!

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Donna January 24 2014 at 4:08 PM

Good for Elizabeth. I will pray for your journey to be positive and continue to reinforce the positive. I smoked for 50 years and quit, so I know you can do it. God Bless you.

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Jean January 25 2014 at 12:40 AM

GOD Bless her!! Any addiciton is a fight but she can do it :)

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chefjohnp January 24 2014 at 4:09 PM

Good luck Elizabeth, you can do it. There are so many people pulling for you who you have never even met. You have support and prayers from your secret friends.

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adam646l chefjohnp January 24 2014 at 4:15 PM

Well said. I too am hoping for such a classy lady

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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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pmcgirr8 January 24 2014 at 4:01 PM

good for you elizabeth i am one too we are good people but we have a powerful disease its not our fault but when you admit it its 50%of the battle the rest is up to u

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