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Elizabeth Vargas returned to television Friday morning and opened up about her alcoholism with Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos. The 20/20 anchor entered treatment for alcohol abuse last November.
“I am. I am an alcoholic,” Vargas said in a pre-taped interview. “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 51-year-old journalist drank wine to cope with stress and anxiety. Although she covered heavy drinking on 20/20, the mother of two couldn’t face her own problem.
“I should’ve realized it was a problem way back when Zachary, my oldest son, was born, and he use to call my nightly glass of wine ‘mommy’s juice,’" Vargas said in the GMA interview. “I thought that was hysterical. It didn’t occur to me that that was a problem.”
Despite suggestions from her husband to seek treatment, Vargas didn’t acknowledge her alcoholism until she showed up to work at 20/20 “in no shape to do that interview.”
The former World News Tonight anchor left rehab early, before returning home to continue her recovery, but quickly realized she needed to stay until her doctors gave their approval for her to leave.
“This isn’t what I want to be known for,” she said. “But I’m really proud of what I did.”
Vargas will reveal more details about her battle with alcoholism when she returns to 20/20 Jan. 24.