Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Thank you very much for contributing to our June Membership Drive! If you didn't have a chance to donate, please do so at any time. We look forward to your support!

Elizabeth Vargas On Fighting Through Alcoholism

This program originally broadcast on September 15, 2016.

With guest host Jane Clayson

ABC News anchor Elizabeth Vargas joins us for a frank conversation about her battle with alcoholism.

You’d never know it to look at her on the set. ABC News anchor and correspondent Elizabeth Vargas was at the top of the professional ladder. Live before the nation, covering everything from 9/11 to the Iraq War, she was calm. Poised on the outside. Inside, she was fighting back panic attacks. Pinching herself to stay focused. And dying for a drink. This hour On Point, Elizabeth Vargas on anxiety, addiction – and her recovery. — Jane Clayson


Elizabeth Vargas, co-anchor of ABC News’ 20/20. Author of the new book, “Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic And Addiction.” (@EVargasABC)

Kathryn McHugh, psychologist with the division of alcohol and drug absue at McLean Hospital. Professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School.

From The Reading List

ABC News: ABC News Anchor Elizabeth Vargas on Her Long Battle With Alcohol and Her Road to Recovery— “Today, when Elizabeth Vargas walks down the streets of New York City on a warm evening, passing wine bars filled with people enjoying glasses of wine, it’s a very different experience for her than it once was.  ‘I don’t look at them and think, ‘I want one,’’ Vargas said. ‘But I look at them and I think, ‘I miss that.’ I miss that time when, you know, it felt so innocent and romantic. But that’s just me romanticizing something that turned out to be really monstrous for me.'”

NPR News: Insecurity, Anxiety Were Constant Companions, ABC News’ Vargas Says — “As Vargas tells it, one night she became so inebriated that a passerby had to rescue her from possible predators in a park after she was so inebriated, her blood alcohol level was in a range that is often lethal. Vargas’ current and former bosses declined to be interviewed for this story, saying Vargas’ memoir could speak for itself. Six former colleagues told me they had not known of her alcoholism. They described her as driven, ambitious, at times intemperate or inconsiderate. But above all, Vargas was considered a consummate workhorse.”

PEOPLE: Elizabeth Vargas Reveals She Kept Wine Bottles Hidden Inside Her Knee-High Boots — ” Elizabeth Vargas struggled with addiction for years and to keep it secret she kept her alcohol in one surprising place. ‘I had these knee-high boots, and I would stick a bottle of wine in the boot,’ Vargas tells PEOPLE exclusively. ‘Nobody looks in the boot.'”

Read An Excerpt Of “Between Breaths” By Elizabeth Vargas

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit