Dancer Cheryl Burke has opened up about her struggle with alcoholism, saying it got so bad she was drinking seven days a week and needed it just to get “through the day.”
The ‘Dancing With The Stars’ professional sat down with Elizabeth Vargas for her ‘Heart of the matter’ podcast, where she detailed her battle with the disease and the road to recovery. The dancer, who is currently dancing with Peloton star Cody Rigsby, explained she was a “functioning” alcoholic who was able to continue her professional life while boozing every day.
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“I lived a very Olympic lifestyle I guess, when I competed before moving to Los Angeles to do ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ and there was none of that. But I know that feeling, my coach is an addict,” she said. Adding, “I had the all or nothing, black or white, no gray.”
Cheryl Burke: I Was A Functioning Alchoholic
She continued, “I made promises to myself I would never drink alone, then that started to go away,” Burke said. “Or I wouldn’t drink before 5 p.m., no drinking on weekdays. It just never stopped. It became so that my tolerance was just nothing got me drunk. I was a functioning drunk for sure.”
The ‘DWTS’ star explained the boozing became such an issue that she was drinking seven days a week. “All I can say about that is my thoughts never got in my way when I was drinking because I was numbing. I was drinking because I was numbing — and we all know that that’s a scary place. It was survival mode constantly, seven days a week for me. I needed to just to get through this day,” she recalled.
‘DWTS’ Star Reveals Rock Bottom Moment
Vargas pressed Burke on labeling herself with the disease, and she answered, “I’m definitely an alcoholic and addict. Absolutely. Yes, 100 percent.”
As for the “rock bottom” moment, Burke claims it didn’t really come to that in her life, but she says a pivotal moment came after she witness her father having a whiskey drink while on his deathbed in a Thailand hospital. “I knew that if I didn’t stop and make a promise to myself to stop drinking that I was going to fall down the rabbit hole of having to find the nearest facility and have it just be something where I would crash and burn,” she explained.
Cheryl Burke Reveals She Is Three Years Sober From Alcohol
At the same moment, she got engaged to her fiance — Matthew Lawrence — and says her body started rejecting alcohol. “Obviously subconsciously something … it was my body rejecting all this poison after drowning with it for so many years.” Adding, “And then our engagement party happened. Kym Herjavec hosted it, and I took one fireball shot and I felt so angry and broke out into hives, and then I just quit that night of our engagement party.”
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The good news, Cheryl is now 3-months sober and has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. The ‘DWTS’ star says she was exposed to the system by ‘Backstreet Boys’ star AJ McLean.