ABC News' Elizabeth Vargas: 'I Am An Alcoholic'

Associated Press,

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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Ratings

Overnights, adults 18-49 for September 27, 2016
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Source: Nielsen

Reviews

  • Rob Owen

    Easily fall’s best broadcast network comedy pilot, NBC’s The Good Place offers a clever high-concept premise that’s complemented with intelligent, sometimes absurdist humor. Created by Michael Schur, co-creator of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, The Good Place is a highly serialized series that’s essentially set in heaven and stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. NBC made five episodes of The Good Place available for review, and the show not only holds up, but also it improves, deepening characters that initially feel one-note and frequently leaving viewers guessing with cliffhanger endings to many of the episodes. The combination of snappy dialogue and winning but flawed characters makes The Good Place a great bet for fans of smart TV comedy.

  • Maureen Ryan

    Pitch has swagger, for good reason. It gets the big things right; the Fox drama about the first female baseball player in the Major Leagues is one of the year’s most assured and exciting debuts. But part of what impresses about the pilot is also the way it confidently strings together so many small but telling details. Ginny (Kylie Bunbury) is the first woman to be called up from the minors to the big leagues, and no show since Friday Night Lights has done a better job of portraying the internal and external pressures that weigh heavily on young athletes asked to do much more than merely succeed on the field. Pitch will likely do a good job of getting viewers to root for it. The hope is that the show won’t be an impressive, short-lived curiosity, but rather a long-term phenomenon.

  • Kevin Fallon

    In a fall TV season that’s already making a splash for championing diverse, distinctive voices in an array of projects that they created, wrote, and starred in, Better Things on FX stands out. The show is created by, written by, and starsPamela Adlon. She plays Sam Fox, the single mother of three daughters modeled after her own reality-show-ready experience raising three girls in Los Angeles following a divorce. Sam is also, like Adlon, a working actress — on shows both raunchy, a la Californication, and animated for children, like her role on Recess. It’s a refreshingly blunt take on single motherhood without sacrificing the warmth of parental love, portraying the dance between selfishness and selflessness that’s at the heart of being a parent — especially one weathering the hormonal fireworks of a household of four women at different ages.

  • David Wiegand

    The fall TV season doesn’t count as much as it used to — we already know that. But no matter how many retreads the broadcast networks throw at viewers in the next few months, this fall will be memorable because of the premiere of Atlanta on Tuesday, Sept. 6, on FX. The half-hour comedy created by and starring Donald Glover (Community), simply and brilliantly recalibrates our expectations of what a TV comedy is and how black lives are portrayed on the medium.

  • Louisa Ada Seltzer

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  • Neil Genzlinger

    Bryan Cranston brings his Tony Award-winning interpretation of President Lyndon B. Johnson to television in an adaptation of the Robert Schenkkan play All the Way, and it’s still quite a sight to behold, just as it was on Broadway in 2014. Nothing beats witnessing this kind of larger-than-life portrayal onstage, of course. But the television version, presented by HBO, offers plenty of rewards, allowing Cranston to work the close-ups and liberating him from the confines of a theater set. Cranston’s performance is a gem — in his hands, this accidental president comes across as an amazing bundle of contradictions, someone who seems at once too vulgar for the job and just right for it.

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