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tv   2020  ABC  September 9, 2016 9:00pm-10:00pm CDT

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with all of you her personal struggle, her life thetenning battle and why she is talking to diane sawyer, hoping her story helps millions. one hour starts now. how close did you come to dying? >> diane sawyer and elizabeth vargas on the addiction that almost cost her everything. >> i would die for my children, but i couldn't stop drinking for my children. >> her marriage to a well-known singer. confronting the video of hitting rock bottom. the day she blacked out in a park, saved by a stranger. evidence of the dramatic link between anxiety and alcoholism. >> i really hurt my children. >> tonight, how to fight your
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joy. between breaths:a story of anxiety, addiction and hope. >> hello, everyone, i'm elizabeth vargas behind the scenes of "20/20," because tonight i want to take you behind the scenes of my life. i've said before that i'm a alcoholic, but i haven't told you the details of what it did to my life. so, i'm telling my story for o of the 30 million battling alcoholism. even though i had support, i couldn't stop. and then i found a way out. so, this is my chance to say to all of you, keep going. because you're worth the fight. and so are the people you love. i asked a friend down the hall at abc, diane sawyer, to be the
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questions you might have, too. when you're walking up the street, and it's a beautiful evening, and all the people are out at the sidewalk cafes and wine bars, enjoying these lovely beautiful glasses of wine, i don't look at them and think, "i want one." 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. >> reporter: as elizabeth said, she asked me to come to her home to hear the story she is telling for other people living in the shadows. the story of her life she has not told before. hey, pal.
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and we're gonna sit over here. >> reporter: it's like family. >> yeah, exactly. >> reporter: this is good. on the walls in her home, pictures of the two sons at the center of her life. sam, now 10, zachary, now 13. and also a photo of a journalist at the top of her field. for decades, a network correspondent and anchor, she was known for her strong reporting around tough interviews, and seeking out people whose stories had been forgotten. there she was, relaxed on "good morning america" and so steady in live, breaking news events. she took over the anchor chair from peter jennings on 9/11. so here we are, two tv news colleagues who work down the hall from each other, getting
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was pulling her into the darkest depths of the ocean. she says it's an act of grace that she's alive tonight. >> we're ready. >> stand by, please. >> reporter: we're all quiet? >> yes. >> reporter: you wrote, "i finally found the place of grace." >> yeah. every moment of happiness is like, "thank god. this is so amazing." and i took it all for granted then. >> reporter: back when she was drinking so much, she could not find an exit. >> there are days when you wake up and you feel so horrible that the only thing that will make you feel better is more alcohol. and that's when you're in the death spin, you know? that's when you're -- that's
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>> i on one occasion had what i know to be a lethal level of alcohol in my blood system, and even that didn't scare me into stopping. can you believe it? even that. >> reporter: and she says she was just one of the millions of americans locked in a battle with alcohol tonight. even though from the outside she seemed to be living a golden life. but i mean, people can look at you and say, "you're so lucky." really. >> i am lucky. >> reporter: look what you have. look what you do for a living. look how you look. look at your life. it's not like other people's problems. >> first of all, yes, i am -- there's -- i -- you know, i am so lucky to have my two amazing children and to have this amazing job. and to have -- >> reporter: resources for people to help and -- >> resources to be able to go to treatment. you're right.
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all i can tell you is when you're in the cycle of this disease, though, that -- it doesn't matter how much you have or how little you have. it didn't matter. it leveled me. it knocked me flat on my butt. you know? i lost sight of everything. everything. >> reporter: and those children she loves more than anything on earth watched it in fear they would lose her. are they the hardest of the hard part? >> oh, hands down. yeah. yeah. that's -- i don't know if i will ever forgive myself for hurting
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and i have -- i have to find a way to -- to not -- you know, to -- some -- i don't know if i'll ever forgive myself for that. >> reporter: and so she says that is why she's talking tonight. and she's written a book for all the millions of people like her and their families locked into this same wrenching journey. she writes, "we are your wives, your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your children, your colleagues, your employees." all of them once just children with no idea what was ahead. like the shy, curly-haired little girl. she says she was an army brat whose family had to move through 14 homes, 9 army bases, 8 schools. she says when she was still very small she started suffering from daily profound anxiety, even panic attacks. but with army discipline, she willed herself to hide her fear and panic from everyone else,
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west. >> and because i am basically so insecure and anxious and afraid, i never, ever in my life learned to reach out for help. ever. >> reporter: and it was in local news that for the first time she says she found a kind of magic potion that helped with her anxiety. after work the news team headed out to the bar, and a couple of glasses of wine became her new best friend. >> it was like, "i finally feel i think i wrote this in the book, "everybody looked prettier and smarter and was more interesting." and me too, you know? all my insecurities would sort of fade back. >> reporter: and tonight, this staggering statistic. nearly 63% of women in trouble with alcohol say they are
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more on that dramatic connection later tonight. but as her story begins, elizabeth vargas says she says she was just a social drinker who had no idea that alcoholism would slowly take over her body and take over her life. later in the broadcast she'll show you the indelible evidence of her dangerous destination -- it was captured on camera. >> and there's a real temptation when you've -- you know, to whitewash what you did. "it wasn't as bad as everybody or, "it wasn't as bad as i remember." and for better or for worse, i have recordings of myself on tv and audio recordings that remind me how bad it was. >> reporter: coming up next, a network anchor begins a secret life that will nearly destroy
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>> reporter: watch elizabeth vargas anchor live tv news and you'd have no idea that
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be perfect is suppressing so much anxiety bordering on panic. >> i mean, i remember anchoring the evening news. and every single night, when michelle, and i love michelle, the floor manager, when she would count down, i hated it. >> two minutes. >> and, you know, my heart would start pounding. i'm, like -- hyperventilating. >> 30 seconds. >> and literally the studio, the edges of my vision w and if you watch carefully at the beginning of every newscast, you will see me lean in. and i grip the desk with my right hand. and on my left hand, which i'm holding my pen, i'm taking my engagement ring and i'm digging the edge into my thumb. >> reporter: why did you go in this business if it was going to torment you like that? >> i loved it. i still love it. i love telling people's stories. >> reporter: and 14 years ago
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her new husband, singer-songwriter marc cohn. they married in 2002. you know his song "walking in memphis." and her favorite song, "medicine man." >> i love that song. >> reporter: for the first time she confided to someone her deep insecurities. he calmed her anxieties by singing her to sleep. but even before they married he noticed she was also drinking at night. >> he thought i drank too much. and i remember him, he was angry when he said it. and grabbing my arm and saying, "you have a problem with alcohol." and that just made me really mad. >> reporter: but it also got her attention. and she says she did control her drinking as she took care of son zach, then son sam. and continued to work hard at her job, once even through a miscarriage. and after the death of our
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2005, she and abc's bob woodruff were named co-anchors of "world news tonight." but 27 days after the broadcast began, bob was almost killed by an ied explosion in iraq. >> it was devastating. devastating. to everybody who worked there, i felt like i was in a hurricane of life. >> reporter: she says she tried mantle of the broadcast as solo anchor but after a few months she was replaced by senior anchor charlie gibson. >> i was demoted. no sugarcoating it. that's what happened. >> reporter: she has written she understood why he was given the job, but because she had tried so hard she felt like a failure. and add to that, over the years, the exhaustion of the travel.
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and the big financial responsibility for the family. so she started turned back to her old friend white wine as consolation. she began keeping the amount a secret. >> there wasn't any alcohol at that point in the house. so i would stop on my way home from work, you know, and have a glass of wine or two at a bar. and then -- >> reporter: alone? >> alone, feeling really pathetic. i would actually -- i would actually pretend to talk to somebody on my cellphone. buou oh, no, i'm just here waiting for you. no problem, take your time. i'll be right -- you know, like, this whole facade. and pop a couple altoids and, hope you didn't come in breathing white wine fumes when you greeted the kids. >> reporter: but as time goes by her husband seems to be pulling away, her glasses of wine at night are becoming entire bottles and he knows. >> and it made all the real problems we needed to discuss and work through frivolous in comparison. you know? "what do you want to talk about?"
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my day is? or what, you know, why don't you support me more?" when, "why are you drinking two bottles of chardonnay every night?" you know? i've just gone and changed the narrative in a pretty dramatic and destructive way. >> reporter: at the end of her glamorous day at work she would head into the bathroom sink where she's hiding bottles of wine. >> looking at myself in the mirror, thinking, "this is who i am. sneaking into my own bathroom to gulp down, you know, from my toothpaste cup, you know, a half cup of wine so i can get through another hour feeling good." >> reporter: soon, another red flag. uncontrolled binges on vacation. her sister aimie had no idea that elizabeth had a problem with drinking until they took a holiday trip together with their kids. the summer of 2011.
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she told me that she drank too much because she was so unhappy. >> reporter: aimie tries to intervene but elizabeth insists she can handle this on her own. she's not an alcoholic, she's just having a rough time. and after all she is still flawless at work. then a year later, 2012, another family vacation. this time with marc and the boys in florida. >> that was our big vacation and my idea of a vacation was to empty the minibar by drinking >> reporter: at one point her younger son sam comes in the hotel room. >> i was drinking and sleeping. and i do vividly remember, like, one afternoon sam standing by that -- my head in the bed saying, "mommy, when are you gonna get up?" and i remember i could smell the sunscreen and i could feel the heat from his little body, because he'd just come in from
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and, you know, i would die for my children, diane. i wouldn't give a nanosecond's worth of thought to die for my children. to kill for my children. but i would die for my children. but i couldn't stop drinking for my children. >> reporter: ahead, her first attempt to reach out for help and the day she almost dies and a stranger saves her life. if my clothes would have super powers... i would imagine that i was a dinosaur spy... flying... i wanna show you my fierce moves now. ? ? uh, robot space look... cool. they have hearts on the knees! i love being me, and everyone should love being theirselves. say hello to cat & jack! hello, how are you?
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>> reporter: if you were watching tv several years ago, you may have seen a journalist and a secret drinker doing a series of reports on alcoholism. >> i was struck by how many of these women said they kept their drinking a secret. >> oh yeah, we're some sneaky bitches. >> i still remember in my interview, "oh, we alcoholics, we're sneaky bitches." you know? and i was like, "oh, my god." but she's right. >> reporter: that was an interview with marry karr, the brilliant professor and author and elizabeth says afterwards, she impulsively asked karr to
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and i said, "i think i might be an alcoholic." and she said, "i am so sorry." i'm so sorry you're going through this. >> reporter: karr offers help. elizabeth resists, though she says she never forgot the powerful kindness of karr's words. >> because so few people tell an -- you -- we all look at the alcoholic with revulsion. and, like, get -- you know, "get it together, for god's sake. what is wrong with you?" and that just makes you feel so horrible about yourself. >> reporter: it was only after that florida vacation in 2012 that elizabeth vargas decided her drinking was enough of a problem she would tell her bosses that she had a medical issue, but secretly she was making a visit to her first rehab facility, where the minimum stay is usually 30 days. >> i was so deluded and in denial that i convinced them to
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crazy. >> reporter: yeah. crazy. >> denial's a big part of my story. crazy. >> reporter: a few weeks after leaving, she starts drinking again. as she returns to work. this is the moment elizabeth is about to cross another bridge toward the disease. in the past she had always been able to keep a firewall between her private drinking and her professional life. the firewall will now begin to crumble. >> i looked at myself on that shoot and i was -- i looked horrible. hangovers but they used to go away. but now, the chemistry of her body so changed by alcohol, it's created a cycle of demand. >> it's a bad, bad place to be. your heart doesn't feel like it's beating. it feels like it's fluttering. and it's not even like your hands are shaky. your entire body is shaky. you're shaky inside. and the only thing that would stop it would be to drink some more. >> reporter: and as you watch what happens next, we have something important to point
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vargas ever drinking on live tv at abc news. her drinking creeps into her work when she is recording on video. >> i drank -- drank that day because i just -- i was shaky. you know, it was horrible. >> reporter: it was an interview with a famous singer. remember, for 30 years elizabeth vargas had always been so crisp and in control on camera. suddenly, she's not. religious. >> yes. >> and you are very -- >> open. >> open. do you see how much i'm struggling to speak? >> reporter: the editors had to take out a lot of her questions so that the piece could even go on the air. after this interview, for the first time, word spread inside abc that something had been wrong with elizabeth on a shoot. but she says she'd taken the red eye and wasn't feeling well and in a few days she's back on the
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and since she deliberately kept her drinking a secret from her colleagues, the producers didn't guessed what it really was. a month goes by. everything is fine. then, another interview. >> i woke up that morning. and i was feeling horrible -- that shaky horrible fluttery heart and -- horrible. and i was on my way to the shoot. and i remember we were going down columbus avenue. and i saw a liquor store. >> reporter: she has the car stop. she buys wine. she drinks some of the bottle before she starts taping. she looks shaky, but conducts the interview, then after the cameras stop rolling, she says she slipped into a nearby room and secretly drank again. and what happens next will be the moment that forces her to confess addiction to her bosses at abc. she gets in a car to be driven home, fastens her seatbelt.
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thing she remembers. an award-winning network anchor is in a total blackout. what's the next thing? >> waking up in the emergency room. i don't know where i went. i don't know what i did. i don't know what i drank. i drank enough to be -- have a lethal blood alcohol level. >> reporter: what was it? >> 0.4. >> reporter: 0.4 is the blood alcohol level that the doctors say killed singer amy winehouse. at least 2,300 americans die each yeafr of alcohol poisoning. the central nervous system can shut down, your heart can stop. so what was it that saved her? we know that she was seen wandering near a park, this park, riverside in new york, late afternoon, still daylight. you don't know how you got to riverside park? >> nope. >> reporter: and she says
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stranger, was driving by and saw the unsteady person in high heels and work clothes. >> a woman saw me. said, "would you like a ride home," i guess. i don't know. i told her my address. i was able to tell her my address. >> reporter: so a complete stranger sees you. >> she said she saw some men nearby that she didn't like the look of who might have been, at that point, probably seeing me as a vulnerable person. and she brought me back here. and at that point i was apparently unconscious. >> reporter: unconscious, in the lobby of her apartment building. maybe somebody seeing this will help you finish the portrait of that. >> yeah. you know, part of me is almost afraid somebody will, you know? it's like, it can be very difficult to confront. >> reporter: her husband marc races down, and calls 911. the woman who had brought her there leaves a card with her phone number. later, elizabeth calls but the
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so all she knows is that out there somewhere tonight is an anonymous stranger who had the kindness to stop and save a life. and she stopped -- >> and she stopped. god bless her. >> reporter: and coming up, the day her secret life comes crashing down. and the answer to questions so many families are asking. >> how did i drink normally for decades and then all of a sudden it fell off the cliff? justice is spelled b-o-x. say hello to a powerful tool that gives you options to fit your budget. ? oh, i'm tied to this chair! ? dun-dun-daaaa! i don't know that an insurance-themed comic book is what we're looking for. did i mention he can save people nearly $600? you haven't even heard my catchphrase. i'm all done with this guy. box him up. that's terrible. marie starts her chicken pot pie with a crust made from scratch
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y23eqy yvpy >> reporter: in 2012 after that terrifying lost afternoon, that blackout, elizabeth vargas finally calls her boss at abc to tell him she needs to seek
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him that i -- it was just alcohol, because i thought it was so unfeminine. >> reporter: unfeminine? >> like, to be a drunk is just, like, you know -- even now i have a hard time saying that word. so i told him alcohol and ambien. >> reporter: with the support of abc she goes back to that rehab facility for a full month. and while there she met this man, earl hightower, one of the nation's leading experts on alcoholism, intervention and recovery. he says instantly he saw that she had made a career of hiding her fears and resisting help and she wasn't ready to face the truth. >> i just thought, "this is the kinda woman that really -- nobody can -- is gonna get this woman sober." there's no way we're gonna sit down and go, "look, here's the deal," and she's gonna go, "oh, okay." >> really? >> reporter: he tried to wake her up, warning she's an alcoholic and cannot drink safely. >> god, you had me nailed. >> reporter: but back then she was so sure it was impossible she was an alcoholic since she
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heavy drinking alone can lead you into a cycle of the full disease. this is dr. deirdra roach, of the national institutes of health. she's program director at the institute that studies alcoholism. elizabeth asks her how the heavy use of alcohol actually alters the chemistry in your cells and the structure of your brian. >> heavy drinking over time hijacks certain processes in the brain. the physiology of the brain. so that itin alcohol just to feel normal. >> just to feel normal. >> you're no longer drinking for the enjoyment of it. just to feel okay. >> reporter: if you check our website you'll find a link to the 11 questions that help you gauge if you have a problem with alcohol. only half the risk comes from any family history. >> i wrestle with, was i born an alcoholic, did i become an alcoholic, when did i become an alcoholic? what's an alcoholic versus a problem drinker?
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born an alcoholic or you became one, you are one. >> reporter: and something else tonight, that growing body of evidence about the link between alcoholism and anxiety, especially among women. it is causing experts to broaden their approach to treatment and recovery. >> how many here also have anxiety? >> very badly. >> all of us. oh, my god. >> reporter: this is the caron treatment center in pennsylvania. for two hours a group of strangers find so much in common in their lives. >> stigma around addiction. >> isolation was a huge thing for me. >> hiding. lying. sneaking. >> reporter: on average an addict will relapse three to four times before they get sober and alcoholics who have anxiety are at twice the risk of relapse. >> what's in there's coming out. and if you don't work on it and get on it and get straight with it, it's gonna come out sideways, it's gonna come out in relapse. >> reporter: which is what happened back in 2012, after elizabeth's first full month of rehab.
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before i was back to looking at myself in that bathroom mirror wondering, how did i get here? >> you just want to shake her and say, "why are you doing this to yourself?" >> reporter: elizabeth heads off to rehab again. then afterwards a few days home before she has to return and this time it's her brother chris who flies in from his home in california to take her. >> i walked into her apartment and she was completely out of it. it had been 7:30 in the morning, a couple of empty wine bottles beside her bed. and i remember wanting to tell her, you can walk into a room and you can light up that room. but don't show up drunk. >> reporter: by now it is early 2014 and after the latest rehab she's about to be hit with a double blow. first the secret she's kept for so long explodes around her. press reports force her to do an interview. she sits down with our colleague george stepanopolos but says she's terrified. not ready. >> you're an alcoholic. >> i am.
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>> reporter: then, just a few days after that interview her husband marc says their marriage is over. there's a lyric in that song "medicine man," which he wrote long before they met. but it says, "he can't save her from herself. who's going to help the medicine man?" ? he can't save her from herself no more ? >> i think that must have been how he felt. because he couldn't save me. i could only save me. >> reporter: her favorite song, now the soundtrack of so much regret. >> and it's about him not being
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>> reporter: and coming up, the tape of herself she could not bear to listen to until the day of this interview. and for everyone who hits rock bottom, the promise you can turn towards hope. y we own it. lose all that negativity. just let it go. it's just bad energy. oh, and lose those terrible black balloons they give you on your 50th. what's up with that? hey we hear you. that's why our members love aarp the magazine. it celebrates you. with fun and provocative content, to in-depth reporting. and it's just one of the great benefits of membership. if you don't think "this is right for me" when you think aarp, then you don't know "aarp". get to know us at aarp.org/possibilities [phone buzzing] buy online. ready in an hour. weren't you just... got it.
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>> reporter: this is a home movie dad is taking of mom and the children, back when the children were young. back before they watched her fade into the alcohol that was carrying her away. did you ever endanger them? >> no. >> reporter: are you sure? >> i don't think so.
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influence. >> reporter: never? >> no. i don't own a car here. but let me just say something. because i didn't physically endanger my children doesn't mean i didn't devastate them or put them in danger emotionally or psychologically. >> reporter: like that last time in 2014. she's back to work. her husband marc is now filing for divorce. so she decides to take a vacation, renting a house on the beach in california and taking someone with her to help with it all seems so glamorous and privileged unless you know the unraveling inside. it's her youngest son's birthday. you were going to make a coconut -- >> cake. sam's favorite. i had all -- that whole vacation planned. and it was his birthday and i bought him a little ipad mini and wrapped it all up in shiny
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and i don't think i gave anywhere near the thought i needed to give to how hard that would be for me. alone. and i drank. i drank again. and i ruined it. >> reporter: starting with wine, she says, and then the only thing left in the house, a bottle of tequila. then, she gets word that the for a report to air the next day. so, early the next morning, an abc crew arrives at her rented vacation house to tape her. it's 8:00 a.m. >> i'm drunk. i remember that day, sitting there. and i could read the words and i couldn't make my mouth work to say the words. >> reporter: the tape was unusable. again, it was made more than two years ago. >> i listened to it to the first -- for the first time today. >> reporter: and?
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>> reporter: the woman we all thought of as never stumbling, even on live tv can be heard on audio tape slurring. >> while howard struggled with the so -- while howard struggled with the so -- while howard struggled with the so -- i can't say it. >> reporter: she's unable to master simple words. i hear the struggle. >> i hear the alco i literally felt sick to my stomach, but i'm glad i listened to it. >> reporter: why? >> because i never want to be there again. >> reporter: she was drinking so much, her children, her boys, were terrified with worry that she might die. and pleaded with her to stop. 3,000 miles away, her bosses at abc are alerted urgently that elizabeth is drinking again. she's coherent enough to call her sister and say, i'm in trouble. >> and it was the first time
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and i'll never forget that. it's still really hard to talk about because i think i instantly knew, like, "this is bad." >> reporter: her sister, her brother, a friend all book the next flight to be with her. iz producer at abc who knows a recovering alcoholic who lives near her rented house. an actor and director who races over. he comforts her children as she goes into detox. he hands her a rosary and arranges a kind of sobriety coach to ride with her back to new york to face what she has done. >> i honestly, i thought it was all over. i thought she was gonna lose the boys, and i thought she was gonna lose her job. we all did.
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the fog of alcohol, elizabeth says, she finally grasped all the ways she had shattered her life. the anguish of her children pleading with her to stop drinking. the marriage she lost. the chance to do the work she loved, in peril. she says in this moment she was buckled to her knees by the unbearable shame. >> ashamed. humiliated. >> reporter: wreckage. >> a lot of wreckage in its wake. >> reporter: this woman who says she spent a career trying to hide any weakness, finally decides to give up, and reach for help. and you get help. >> yeah. and you get help. then you can fight. >> reporter: abc news agrees to give her one last chance. >> thank god they gave me one more chance. thank god.
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to those around her. she says she was shocked out of denial. and she began apologizing to her colleagues who had to redo their work because of her drinking. she apologizes to the family who gave up so much of their lives to try to help her. and to the husband who agreed they would have joint custody of the children. and most of all, with the children, she apologizes in wrenching detail. >> you can't just say, "i'm sorry. i'm sorry i hurt you," and then, you know, leave it at that. "i'm sorry i drank. i'm sorry i scared you. i'm sorry that i wasn't there for you. i'm sorry i fell asleep and missed your recital. i'm sorry. i'm so sorry." >> reporter: and she says it's her promise to them to spend every day of her new life trying to be the mother she always wanted to be. what is it you most want your
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what's the thing you'd most love to hear from them? >> that my mom fought for us and fought for herself. that she stared into the abyss and pulled herself back out. that's what i would like them to say. >> reporter: tonight marc cohn has issued a statement, and we'lst supports elizabeth in her recovery and that the two of them are working together to be loving parents to their two incredible boys. and coming up next, what elizabeth has learned about staying sober.
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's not you! it's verizon! they limit my data. i had to choose. come on, girl. let's get us a man with unlimited data. why pay verizon more for data limits? introducing t-mobile one. one price. unlimited data for everyone. hey, guys. >> reporter: tonight, as you know, elizabeth vargas is back in command. >> how many people live here? >> reporter: back with the people and stories she loves. the breaking news reports. and now the personal story she hopes will help someone else. it has been more than two years
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you say people are going to say, "this book is too soon." >> oh, i'm sure. >> reporter: "you haven't been sober long enough for this book." could they be right? >> you know, sure. but when's the right time? there's no guarantee that i can stay sober for two years, five years, ten years, 15 years. the truth of the matter is, every single alcoholic only has today. none of us knows what will happen tomorrow. we all do everything we can today that tomorrow we won't pick up a drink. but we really only have today. >> reporter: now, she attends meetings. support groups. and has learned if she's ever out someplace she feels tempted to drink, she has to leave. and she also makes time for meditation to tame all that old anxiety. do you still have triggers?
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>> reporter: tired. anger. right. and is there something specific, you know, to do? >> pick up the phone and call somebody. >> reporter: and by the way, i've also learned something new in doing this story. unless an alcoholic in recovery volunteers the exact number of sober days, don't ask. their accountability is not to us, it's to themselves and those they love. but you don't count the days of sobriety? or do you? >> i do. but i, t know, i keep to myself. >> reporter: why? >> if i were to to talk about it openly, like on national television, it feels like i jinx myself in a way. >> reporter: and today, that woman once so afraid of showing any imperfection says she likes to begin each day with an anthem to humility and acceptance. it's a song by leonard cohen, a prayer for the broken places and
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? from this broken hill i will sing to you ? >> there's a favorite saying i heard that was, you know, when you pray to god, there are three answers. and one is, "yes," "not now," and "i have something better for you." >> reporter: so the sun is going to be setting on us he yeah. another good day. and you know what? at the end of the day when i'm in bed, it's another, "thank you, god, for this day." ? if it be with ? >> and i am so thankful for all of these new days, and all of your encouragement.
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you have a problem with alcohol, or know somebody that does, go to abc.com and get all the resources for help. >> and your book is in stores next tuesday, and it's called between breaths. and you said this journey, it meant so much to you to get voice mails from your friends. and you have some new ones tonight. >> so, send messages to the people in your life as well. we will be reading them, and we say, good night. >> we're rooting for you every single day. >> we've always been behind you and in front of you, 100%. >> i love you. >> and we know how much those boys love their mom, and we love you, too.
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[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: right now on wisn 12 news. toya: standing in silence to remember 9/11. the piece of the tragedy in southeastern wisconsin, and its link to families united by that fateful day. milwaukee public schools testing the water in schools. what it's looking for and the reason they started. neighborhood full of shops. what it's doing to fight back. 15 years have passed since the deadliest attack on u.s. soil. adrienne: for so many the sadness and anger is still raw as they reflect on that horrible day. a community event in downtown waukesha tonight commemorated those killed on september 11. toya: wisn 12 news' christina palladino is live in waukesha . and christina, a part of ground zero is there.

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