cover image Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction

Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction

Elizabeth Vargas. Grand Central, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-1-455-55963-3

In her eye-opening memoir, World News Tonight and 20/20 coanchor Vargas chronicles a difficult and inspiring life hidden not only from the public, but from her family and friends. Vargas was an anxious child; when her father, a U.S. Army captain, was sent to Vietnam, the family moved to Okinawa. In the ensuing years Vargas lived in 14 homes, on nine army bases, and attended eight schools. Ashamed of her nervousness, she kept her unease to herself, but in spite of it she blossomed in high school, later enrolling in the journalism program at the University of Missouri and eventually climbing the ladder to a spot at NBC, moving to ABC in 1996. When she was anxious, Vargas used alcohol to calm herself, becoming a "highly functional addict," managing to keep her composure on the job whether interviewing the president of the U.S., covering the war in Iraq, or traveling to Cambodia for a story on baby trafficking. She married a Grammy Award%E2%80%93winning singer, had two sons, and appeared to have it all. As her story develops, Vargas describes her weeks in rehab, her relapses, a frightening experience with lethal blood-alcohol content, and the transformative moment when she realizes the importance of asking for help. This gripping memoir of addiction takes readers from the highs of Vargas's successful news career to the lows of alcoholism, and through the grace of recovery. (Sept.)