20/20 Anchor Elizabeth Vargas Details How Anxiety of Live TV Led Her to Battle With Alcoholism
Elizabeth Vargas is opening up about her years-long struggle with alcoholism that could have sent her to an early grave.
In an interview airing Friday, the 20/20 anchor sat down with Diane Sawyer to talk about her crippling anxiety about doing live TV and how it led to her addiction.
"There are days where you wake up and you feel so horrible that the only thing that will make you feel better is more alcohol," she admitted. "I remember anchoring the evening news every single night and when the floor manager would count down, I would hate every single minute of it."
She admitted that her heart would pound and she would hyperventilate in the moments leading up to a show. Her uneasiness also blurred her vision, and she would clutch her TV desk with her right hand and dig her engagement ring into her left finger.
She said she almost died from her battle with the bottle.
"On one occasion, I know what I had was a lethal amount of alcohol in my blood. Even that didn't stop me," she said. "When you are in the cycle of this disease, it didn't matter how much you have or how little you have. It didn't matter. It leveled me. I knocked me flat on my butt."
She also expresses regret for the impact her alcoholism has had on her two sons.
"I would die for my children, but I could not stop drinking for my children," she said.
Vargas details her journey in a new memoir, Between Breaths.