Elizabeth Vargas Talks on Camera About Battle With Alcoholism

Image: Elizabeth Vargas Talks on Camera About Battle With Alcoholism

Friday, 24 Jan 2014 11:59 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Elizabeth Vargas admitted for the first time on camera that she is an alcoholic.

In an interview with "Good Morning America" that aired Friday, Vargas, who last year entered rehab for alcoholism, said her attempts to conceal her addiction from others left her "exhausted."

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Vargas' drink of choice was reportedly wine, which she said helped her manage bouts of anxiety and stress throughout her adulthood. She frequently suffered panic attacks as a child.

"I dealt with that anxiety, and with the stress that the anxiety brought, by starting to drink," Vargas said. "Even to admit it to myself was admitting, I thought, that I was a failure."

"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."

According to Vargas, her husband, singer-songwriter Marc Cohn with whom she has two children, refused to ignore the journalist's increasing dependence on alcohol to help her cope with life's problems.

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

Prior to Friday's appearance on "Good Morning America," Vargas acknowledged her alcoholism in a statement last fall but never discussed the addiction on camera.

When news first broke about her rehab, Vargas released a statement saying, "Like so many people, I am dealing with addiction."

"I am in treatment and am so thankful for the love and support of my family, friends and colleagues at ABC News," Vargas added. "Like so many others, I will deal with this challenge one day at a time. If coming forward today gives one other person the courage to seek help, I’m grateful."

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Vargas has worked at ABC News since 1996 and was considered for a time to be Peter Jennings' possible successor for the program "World News Tonight" following the anchorman's death in 2005.

Charles Gibson was eventually selected over Vargas for the show, which is currently anchored by Diane Sawyer, the Los Angeles Times noted.

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