NEW YORK -- From the early 1990s to just a couple of years ago, Laurie Dhue was a familiar face on network news.
She has the distinction of being the only person to anchor at the three big cable networks -- CNN, MSNBC and most recently Fox News, where she served as anchor from 2000 to 2008 and also hosted her own weekend show.
But behind Dhue's impressive careers, glamorous looks and rising star status, was a painful secret she hid for more than a decade. She was an alcoholic.
She recently sat down with CBN News to discuss how she overcame her addiction.
"When people look at me they say, 'You don't look like an alcoholic. How could you have these types of problems?' But outward appearances are deceiving and they certainly were in my case. From the outside, I had it all. I had a great job at Fox News. I had more friends than I can count. A loving family. none of that mattered," Dhue explained.
"Because inside I was a shell of a person. I had low self esteem. That's why I turned to alcohol. It seemed to make me happier. But as the years went on and my problem didn't get better, it actually got worse. I had to look at myself and see what it was that was that I felt so bad about that I had to cover with alcohol," she added.
Success Wasn't Enough
But something inside her head kept telling her with all her success, it still wasn't enough.
"There was something inside of me that said, 'Laurie you're not good enough.' I don't know where it came from," she told CBN News. "That's something I still ask myself."
"Some of it started in my teen years when we go through that awkward period. And I was very awkward, I was tall, gawky, not one of the popular girls. And when I got older, alcohol was a way to fit in, to feel like I mattered, that I belonged. The drinking went from normal in my 20s, but then my drinking really took off in my 30s when I moved to New York," she recalled.
Her drinking continued, going from bad to worse.
"When my drinking was at its worst, I would drink heavily 2 or 3 times a week. and going to work or on weekends very hungover," Dhue explained. "And playing the same tape in my head over and over, how could I have done this again? How could I have gone out and gotten drunk last night when I swore I was only going to have one or two drinks? And that was a question that after years of asking I just stopped asking. I truly thought that's how I had to live just to live a normal life."
"I drank to make myself more interesting to other people," she continued. "And I drank to make other people more interesting to me. When the truth of the matter is, I was very interesting the way I was, and alcohol wasn't doing me any favors. When I realized that, I was ready to get sober, because I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. And I got down on my knees and begged God for help on the morning of March 14, 2007. I said, 'I cannot do this. God help me, and that's when I knew the fight was over.'"
God answered her prayer and Dhue revealed that her faith played a huge role in her recovery.
"My faith played an enormous role in my sobriety. I would not be where I am, which is four years sober -- four years without a drink, without God's help," she said.
Resources to Fight Alcohol Addiction
CBN News asked her, "How do you negotiate a cocktail party these days?"
"I tend to go to a cocktail party and stay for 30 to 45 minutes, say, 'Hi', shake hands, have short conversations, then I leave,' she replied.
"And I drink Pellegrino!," she exclaimed. Sometimes it's Pellegrino with a lemon slice, sometimes with a lime and when I'm really feeling crazy, an orange slice. but it's all about the sparkling water, and that's fine."
Dhue also wants to help people who have the same addiction.
"I want to let people know, they are not alone. There are so many people that have an addiction to something, but maybe they are afraid to admit it. And even if they admit it, they are afraid to get help, because they don't know where to go or what to do and they don't know that there are literally ten's of thousands of resources out there that are available," she explained.
Journey Has Helped Spiritual Life
Today, Dhue runs her own media training business and is hoping to get back on network news. She says Fox News let her go because her contract had expired and they couldn't come to an agreement, not because of alcohol. But she says, no matter what the future holds, she's happier today than she's ever been.
"I'm grateful, because going through this journey of sobriety and increasing my spiritual life has made me a much stronger person and a much happier person," she said. "And the woman you see sitting before you today is a really happy one. I feel like I'm finally becoming the woman I was meant to be and perhaps the woman God wants me to be."
*Original broadcast March 14, 2011.