Elizabeth Vargas took her battle with alcoholism public in 2013, and she's continuing to speak out about overcoming the disease in an effort to help others.
In her upcoming book Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction, the 20/20 anchor candidly addresses how she used to rely on drinking to calm her nerves when she was anxious. But as Vargas tells Diane Sawyer in a special edition of 20/20 airing this Friday, recovery is something she isn't about to take for granted now.
"On one occasion, I had what I know to be a lethal level of alcohol in my blood system," she recalls. "And even that didn't scare me into stopping. Can you believe it? Even that."
She also looks back on the impact her illness had on her two young sons. "I would die for my children, but I couldn't stop drinking for my children," she says. "I don't know if I will ever forgive myself for hurting them with my drinking, ever."
Vargas' love for her sons and wanting to be the best mother possible for them has played a large role in her road to recovery. She sought professional treatment for alcoholism, and in an essay written for ABC News, she writes about how she's "slowly learned to reach out to other people" when she feels she needs help.
The journalist also has a new way of dealing with her anxiety: Meditating. Instead of reaching for a glass of wine, she turns to the age-old practice as a means to ease her worries.
"Meditating has taught me to sit with my thoughts, my feelings, and just observe them," she writes. "You cannot turn your brain off, or stop your thoughts, but you can try while meditating not to become too invested in them. This is called transcendental meditation, which is the kind I practice. But any kind of mediation will do."
Vargas continues: "It is mostly about being present and being grateful, noticing everything going on around you (when you are anxious, or drinking to avoid anxiety, you are never truly present. You are always trying to escape) and being grateful for what is happening that is good."
For much more from Vargas and how she's overcome alcoholism, tune in for a special two-hour edition of 20/20 this Friday at 9 p.m. on ABC.