It’s perfectly fine to have a drink or two every now and then. After all, who wouldn’t want to wind down after a long day at work? However, when the drinking impairs your ability to function normally, you may have a serious problem at hand. This is an issue that people from all walks of life experience, from private folk to celebrities like ABC News anchor Elizabeth Vargas. Early this year, she had the courage to admit she had a drinking problem:
“In an appearance on “Good Morning America” today, “20/20″ anchor Elizabeth Vargas acknowledged she was an alcoholic and said hiding her problem had been “exhausting.”
“I am. I am an alcoholic,” Vargas told “GMA” co-anchor George Stephanopoulos in interview that was taped Thursday and aired for the first time today. “It took me a long time to admit that to myself. It took me a long time to admit it to my family, but I am.
“The amount of energy I expended keeping that secret and keeping this problem hidden from view was exhausting,” Vargas said, adding that she had done hour-long “20/20″ specials on drinking but couldn’t acknowledge she had a problem.
“Even to admit it to myself was admitting, I thought, that I was a failure,” Vargas, who has anchored on “GMA,” said.”
A respected broadcast journalist like Vargas might not fit most people’s notion of an alcoholic, but it just goes to show how prevalent this problem is. In fact, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) says that 17.6 million Americans—or one in 12 adults—abuse alcohol to some degree. One factor that might explain this staggering number is the relative ease with which alcohol can be obtained. Unlike other commonly abused substances like illegal drugs or prescription medicine, one can simply go to a local store to purchase a six-pack of beer or a bottle of wine, provided they are of legal age.
Scott Sweeney, a West Hartford, CT substance abuse counselor, says that alcoholism can take a serious toll on anyone’s life. To begin with, an alcohol-dependent person will likely cause conflict among family and friends due to their erratic and irrational behavior. Likewise, employment may be compromised as colleagues and superiors notice waning productivity or frequent absences. Even the individual’s well-being is at stake, because alcohol can cause severe damage to internal organs, and inhibit logical thinking, making the person more prone to accidents like car crashes.
If you know someone who struggles with alcohol dependence, you should understand their struggle to kick the habit. Fortunately, a CT substance abuse counselors can help them get to the root of the problem and guide them toward sobriety.
(Source: Elizabeth Vargas: ‘I Am. I Am an Alcoholic,’ Says ABC News Anchor, ABC News, January 24, 2014)