In a no-holds-barred new memoir, ABC news anchor Elizabeth Vargas reveals how her life was saved by a stranger who drove her home after a 13-hour booze blackout.
In ‘Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction’, Vargas recalls how a passing motorist rescued her drunk as two predators circled.
She tells how in July 2012 she dashed into a liquor store before showing up at the ABC studios to do a late-morning interview for her show, ’20/20′.
The minute the interview wrapped, Vargas bolted and filled a water glass to the brim with white wine, drained it and poured another.
Hours later the motorist spotted Vargas ‘someplace along the park’ with ‘two sketchy-looking men hanging around me’.
She fell into the woman’s car, just managing to share her address before passing out.
Vargas was admitted to hospital with a lethal blood alcohol level of 0.4. She’d only just escaped death.
In the memoir, Vargas also reveals how close she came to being fired after repeatedly relapsing.
She also writes about the devastating disintegration of her marriage to singer-songwriter Marc Cohn, whose hits include ‘Walking in Memphis’.
Vargas, 54, sober for two years now, writes that it was both the stress of the job and an unhappy marriage that launched her alcoholic spiral.
One night home alone with her two sons, Zachary and Sam, Vargas reveals she drank so much she had to be hospitalized to detox.
Vargas said she started slipping into bars after work and secretly drinking at home.
When she traveled overseas on assignment, she drank nonsto and on a family vacation in West Palm Beach, a nurse had to re-hydrate her in the hotel room.
Her first stint in rehab was a quick two-weeks at treatment center, Cirque Lodge, in Utah, in 2012.
Then came the disastrous afternoon in the park that resulted in another month’s stay at rehab.
But back at home, she started to drink again and before long she was back in rehab again.
Vargas says she worked hard at getting at the source of her lifelong anxiety. She attributes it to the trauma the family suffered when her father was sent to serve in Vietnam in 1969.
It was on January 23, she sat down with George Stephanopoulos on ‘Good Morning America,’ for an interview where she admitted publicly, for the first time: ‘I am an alcoholic.’
After her marriage crumbled after Cohn met someone else, Vargas endured a month of ar home recovery with a counselor named Polly would would sleep every night at her home.
Polly directed her toward a strengthening belief in God.
‘Today, when I feel anxiety start to overtake me, I pray,’ she writes. ‘And now I pray when times are good.
‘Every single day, I thank God for my family, my health, my home, and a job that I still love.’
Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction is published on September 13 and is available for pre-order on Amazon.