Spotlight On Elizabeth Vargas
The entertainment world is full of admirable recovery advocates. From actors like Mackenzie Phillips, to musicians like Nikki Sixx; famous personalities who have turned their lives around after getting sober deserve getting a piece of the spotlight. But for our latest entry in this series, we wanted to focus on award-winning journalist Elizabeth Vargas.
Elizabeth is someone who spends her time reporting news. But in the past few years, she started making headlines because of her public battles with anxiety and alcoholism. Her addictions cost her her marriage and almost her job on the ABC series, 20/20. But rather than back away from the “bad publicity,” Elizabeth chose to embrace it. In recent months, she has spoken out publicly about her addictions and even written a book about it. We are proud to share her story and hope others can use it as inspiration.
Elizabeth’s memoir, Between Breaths, highlights her decades-long battle with the bottle and how issues like anxiety came into play. As she told People.com, coming to grips with the issue was very challenging and something that caused tremendous pain.
“It was scary to write this book and tell this story,” Elizabeth explained. “I imagined every terrible scenario possible.”
Vargas’ book chronicles her unassuming descent into alcoholism. What began as casual happy hours with her newsroom co-workers soon turned into long nights drinking alone. As she explained to ABC, part of the reason that she gravitated towards the bottle was because it brought a source of comfort.
“[When I would drink] it was like, ‘I finally feel relaxed,’” Vargas said. “All my insecurities would sort of fade back.”
Pressures from work soon drove her to drink more, eventually causing a rift in her marriage. But, as she explains in her book, it took Elizabeth a long time to admit she had a problem. She also points out that alcoholism does not run in her family.
Eventually Vargas entered a recovery program, but still suffered relapses months later.
“There was one occasion on a Saturday,” she added. “I woke up that morning and I was feeling horrible, that shaky, horrible, fluttery heart… and I was on my way to the shoot on Columbus Avenue [in New York City] and I saw a liquor store.”
As with most long-term alcoholics, recovery doesn’t happen overnight. But Elizabeth continued to seek out treatment and now proudly has two years of sobriety under her belt.
To help inspire others, Vargas has gone on the speaking circuit; sharing her story and tips to help fight back the cravings. Some of the successful techniques that have worked for her include meditation and a close-knit recovery support group.
“Meditating as a daily practice helps me slow down my reactivity,” she explained. “What works in the moment? Breathing deep. Saying a little prayer. Telling someone what I am feeling.”
Elizabeth admitted that anger is also a trigger point, but instead of reaching for a bottle she reaches for the phone; to dial her support system.
If you are hiding a problem like Elizabeth was, understand that it carries absolutely no shame. Valley Recovery Center has helped countless professionals in similar situations and we are always available for you.