Welcome back, Elizabeth Vargas.
co-anchor returned to TV Friday morning, her first appearance since seeking treatment
for alcohol abuse in November.
In a taped sit-down with George Stephanopoulos that aired on Good Morning America
, Vargas opened up about her dark struggles with her disease and chronicled her journey back to recovery.
"I am an alcoholic. It took me a long time to admit that to myself. I took me a long time to admit that to my family. But I am," Vargas, 51, said.
"The amount of energy I expended keeping that secret and keeping this problem hidden from view was exhausting," she explained, adding: "You become so isolated with the secret, so lonely because you can't tell anyone what's happening."
Vargas said she recalled having panic attacks as a kid, which eventually morphed into anxieties that "slowly escalated."
"Wine was my go-to drink," she said of her chosen salve. "A lot of wine ... At night, it was a ritual."
Red flags began to go up, she says, when, at one point, her son called her nightly glass of wine "Mommy's juice."
Now, Vargas says she's facing her condition head-on – "in the end, it's a fact of my life" – and finding the mental and emotional tools to help her along the way.
"It's a psychic change, it's learning to accept that I'm human, that there's nothing wrong with feeling anxiety."
On Nov. 6, Vargas revealed that she was in rehab, saying in a statement: "Like so many people, I am dealing with addiction. I realized I was becoming increasingly dependent on alcohol. And feel fortunate to have recognized it for the problem it was becoming."
She left rehab
two weeks later, Tweeting: "I am home, and so grateful for all your support and well wishes. I am so much better and taking it one day at a time. :)"