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Elizabeth Vargas on Her Struggle with Anxiety & Addiction:

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Elizabeth Vargas on Her Struggle with Anxiety and Addiction
Elizabeth Vargas – Image from her official Twitter
On Friday, September 9th, Elizabeth Ann Vargas, the American television journalist and anchor of ABC shared her love, hope and strength during her interview with fellow colleague, Diane Sawyer. From the outside looking in, as viewers, fans, and to the college journalist, Elizabeth Vargas was the beautiful, articulate, incredibly bright and engaging reporter that we have been watching for decades. Yet, just like 63% of American women, she too was struggling with alcohol dependence and severe anxiety. Her two glasses of chardonnay after work turned into a downward spiral of binge drinking, blurred interviews, and absent vacations with her husband and two children. She lost sight of everything and strongly deems that it was an act of grace that she did not die. She remembers looking at herself in the bathroom with her ‘toothbrush rinse cup’ filled with wine and thinking, “I would die for my children but I wouldn’t stop drinking for them”. It was in that moment, she realized that she was in major denial of her disease and needed to break the façade that she had been wearing all of these years. She knew that she needed to find her way back to true joy and self-love – a place that she hadn’t felt since she was in her early twenties.

“we are your wives, your mothers, your children, your classmates, your friends, your colleagues – please do not turn your back on us”

She deems it is important for people to understand that her disease is shared by millions – “we are your wives, your mothers, your children, your classmates, your friends, your colleagues – please do not turn your back on us”. After entering treatment four times, Elizabeth is more than two years sober today. She shares that meditation has saved her as it has given her a life of calmness and peace. She recognizes that, although she has remained sober for two plus years, she can only focus on ‘the today’ as she can only hope that tomorrow she won’t drink. To prepare for each day and every tomorrow, Vargas attends regular meetings, meditates every morning and evening, calls her sponsor when she is feeling anxious and continues to be open with her family, friends and colleagues. She notes, “I had to make amends with everyone that I hurt – especially my family, my children. The hardest thing was to say, ‘Sorry for being too drunk and missing your game, for always sleeping and never being present’ – how do you admit to your children that you have a problem?” She laid out a meticulous timeline for ABC and shared with her team and bosses all the days she had come in in ‘drunk or hungover’ – it was a moment of ‘clarity’ for her and a day where she didn’t have to hide anymore. She needed to rid herself from all the shame and anger that she had been holding onto for so long and for her, ‘it is still a constant battle’.

To learn more about Vargas story and her new book, ‘Between Breaths” A Memoir of Panic and Addiction’, visit https://abc.go.com/shows/2020/episode-guide/2016-09/09-090916-the-elizabeth-vargas-interview

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