Elizabeth Vargas returns to TV after rehab stint: 'I'm an alcoholic'

The recovering ABC News journalist returns to 20/20 on Friday.
Posted By Veronica Linares  |  Jan. 24, 2014 at 3:27 PM
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ABC's Elizabeth Vargas has admitted she has an alcohol addiction.

The 51-year-old TV veteran opened up about her rehab stint and her battle with alcoholism in a pre-taped interview with George Stephanopoulos that aired on Good Morning America Friday.

"I am. I am an alcoholic," she said. "It took me a long time to admit that to myself. It took me a long time to admit it to my family, but I am."

The former 20/20 anchor called her problem a "staggering burden to walk around with," adding that keeping her condition a secret from others made her feel isolated and lonely. She revealed she was leaving her show to seek treatment for her alcohol addiction in November.

During her interview with GA, Vargas said she decided to get help after realizing she was "in no shape" to do an interview one day.

"At night I -- [wine] was a ritual," she confessed. "I should've realized it was a problem way back when Zachary, my oldest son, was born. And he used to call my nightly glass of wine 'mommy's juice.' You know, and I thought that was hysterical. It didn't occur to me that that was a problem."

Her husband, Marc Cohn confronted her about her problem, but she said it made her "really, really angry."

Vargas explained that her addiction began slowly, adding that stress and anxiety were big triggers.

"It becomes very easy to think 'I deserve this glass of wine. I'm so stressed out," she said.

"I started thinking 'Well, you know, I'll only drink, you know, on weekends. 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," Vargas recalled. "But those deals never work."

Now, she leans on her AA group, family and friends to stay sober.

"I'm part of AA," she said. "I have a sponsor. I have great, great friends who I love and who love me."

Vargas returns to 20/20 Friday.

[Good Morning America]

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