Elizabeth Vargas Comes Clean About Alcoholism, Gains Highest 20/20 Ratings

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Elizabeth Vargas has finally opened up about her battle with alcoholism, and millions of faithful TV viewers tuned in to watch her candid discussion about addiction and rehab. 

The television anchor returned to ABC's 20/20 on Friday night, and earned the newsmagazine’s biggest audience in four years. According to Fox News Latino, the Nielsen Company said an estimated 8.3 million people tuned in to watch Vargas discuss her stint in rehab. 

The 51-year-old journalist spoke about her struggles with addiction, and admitted it took her years to admit she had a problem with excessive wine-drinking. She said that she was angry when her husband, singer-songwriter Marc Cohn, first told her she had a problem. 

Vargas also spoke to George Stephanopoulos on Friday’s episode of Good Morning America. “I am. I am an alcoholic,” she acknowledged. “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 Huffington Post reports that she said that it had been “exhausting” to hide her drinking problem, and she realized she needed to get help when she showed up to work at 20/20 and realized she was “in no shape to do that interview.”

The 20/20 anchor claims that her alcohol addiction began as a coping mechanism. Vargas says that she’s suffered from anxiety problems and panic attacks since childhood. 

“I dealt with that anxiety, and with the stress that the anxiety brought my starting to drink. And it slowly escalated and got worse and worse,” she described. Finally, last fall, she checked herself into rehab for alcohol abuse. She left the center against the advice of the rehab facility, but checked back in and completed treatment.

ABC News had expressed its support for Elizabeth Vargas, and said they would welcome her back when she’s ready.

We're glad to see Elizabeth healthier and back on screen! What do you think of her comments? 

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About this author1

Cristina Arreola, Editorial Assistant

Originally from El Paso, Texas, Cristina Mari Arreola earned her degree at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University before moving to BrooklynNew York. In her downtime, you can usually find her scouring the city for the most authentic Mexican food (still looking...), scaring herself silly watching horror movies, or baking her favorite sweets. You can follow her on Twitter at @c_arreola

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