20/20 anchor Elizabeth Vargas details how anxiety of live TV led her to battle with alcoholism

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Elizabeth Vargas is opening up about her years-long struggle with alcoholism that could have sent her to an early grave.

Read: Amish Teens Arrested in DUI Stop After Driving 110 MPH in Minivan: Cops

In an interview airing Friday, the 20/20 anchor sat down with Diane Sawyer to talk about her crippling anxiety about doing live TV and how it led to her addiction.

See Elizabeth Vargas through the years:

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Elizabeth Vargas through the years
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Elizabeth Vargas through the years
Elizabeth Vargas during 'Brite Night Whitney' Annual Fundraising Gala at Whitney Museum in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Elizabeth Vargas Attending the 1998 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. June 7, 1998 (Photo by Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 13: Elizabeth Vargas attends 'Daddy's Home' New York premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on December 13, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Chance Yeh/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 31: Elizabeth Vargas attends the 'Walking With The Enemy' screening at Dolby 88 Theater on March 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 10: Elizabeth Vargas attends the 'Les Miserables' New York premiere at Ziegfeld Theatre on December 10, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Brad Pitt appears on 'Good Morning America,' 11/29/12, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images)ELIZABETH VARGAS, BRAD PITT
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Stephen Colbert and Jenny McCarthy appears on 'Good Morning America,' 10/2/12, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Fred Lee/ABC via Getty Images)STEPHEN COLBERT, ELIZABETH VARGAS, JENNY MCCARTHY
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Charlie Sheen talks about his new show 'ANger Management' on 'Good Morning America,' 6/25/12, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Fred Lee/ABC via Getty Images)ELIZABETH VARGAS, CHARLIE SHEEN, GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS
Elizabeth Vargas attending the Broadway Opening Night Performance of 'EVITA' at the Marquis Theatre in New York City on 4/5/2012 �� Walter McBride / WM Photography (Photo by Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 13: Elizabeth Vargas attends the 'Arthur Christmas' premiere at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas on November 13, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/WireImage)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 24: Elizabeth Vargas attends the Kids For Kids Family Carnival at Industria Superstudio on October 24, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Michael N. Todaro/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 18: Elizabeth Vargas attends the 2016 Paley Center for Media's Tribute To Hispanic Achievements In Television at Cipriani Wall Street on May 18, 2016 in New York, New York. (Photo by Mike Pont/WireImage)
Elizabeth Vargas during Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People 2007 - Red Carpet at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage for Rubenstein Communications, Inc.)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 13: Elizabeth Vargas and Marc Cohn attend the 'Hyde Park On Hudson' screening during the 50th New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall on October 13, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NIGHTLINE - Academy Award-winner Lupita Nyong'o is interviewed by Elizabeth Vargas, for NIGHTLINE, airing FRIDAY, APRIL 25 (12.35am, ET) on the ABC Television Network as well as all ABC News platforms. (Photo by Fred Lee/ABC via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 26: Elizabeth Vargas and children attend the Opening Night Gala Presentation and 'The Walk' World Premiere during 53rd New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on September 26, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 07: Elizabeth Vargas attends the New York premiere of 'A Most Violent Year' at Florence Gould Hall on December 7, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 17: Elizabeth Vargas attends the 2016 ABC Upfront at David Geffen Hall on May 17, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 12: '20/20' co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas attends The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation's 'A Magical Evening' Gala at the Marriot Marquis Harlem Room on November 12, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
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"There are days where you wake up and you feel so horrible that the only thing that will make you feel better is more alcohol," she admitted. "I remember anchoring the evening news every single night and when the floor manager would count down, I would hate every single minute of it."

She admitted that her heart would pound and she would hyperventilate in the moments leading up to a show. Her uneasiness also blurred her vision, and she would clutch her TV desk with her right hand and dig her engagement ring into her left finger.

She said she almost died from her battle with the bottle.

"On one occasion, I know what I had was a lethal amount of alcohol in my blood. Even that didn't stop me," she said. "When you are in the cycle of this disease, it didn't matter how much you have or how little you have. It didn't matter. It leveled me. I knocked me flat on my butt."

Read: JetBlue Pilot is Accused of Flying From Florida to New York While Drunk

She also expresses regret for the impact her alcoholism has had on her two sons.

"I would die for my children, but I could not stop drinking for my children," she said.

Vargas details her journey in a new memoir, Between Breaths.

Watch: 15-Month-Old Twin Girls Die In Hot Car After Dad Spent Day Drinking: Cops


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