Cheryl Burke Says She Was 'Two Seconds Away' From Breaking Her Sobriety

The pro dancer decided to stop drinking in 2018.

Cheryl Burke is opening up about having a hard time with her sobriety. During the latest episode of the Pretty Messed Up podcast, the 37-year-old pro dancer told her co-hosts, AJ McLean and Rene Elizondo Jr., that she's "been feeling like drinking again a lot lately."

Burke told her co-hosts, who are also sober, that during a recent trip to Hawaii with her husband, Matthew Lawrence, she realized "how codependent" she is on her co-hosts.

"I look forward to these conversations of sobriety, of AJ let's say talking about your ups and downs in life, and how it’s been rough at times. And then you, Rene, just being that voice of God," she said. "And then, for some reason, I was thinking, 'What if this was all over one day?' And I had so much anxiety."

It was on the same trip that Burke was "triggered" by alcohol, something she had yet to experience in her nearly three year-long sobriety journey.

"We had a bottle of champagne delivered to our room because of our anniversary. They obviously didn't know I don't drink," she said. "But then Matt had a little bit and never ever have I been triggered in the last two and a half years until that day. I was like, 'Oh my God.'"

The "same thing" happened at a friend's birthday party shortly thereafter.

"It scared me because my sister was with me and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, Nicole. I’m two seconds away [from drinking],'" she said. "That's the thing, if I start I can't just have one and I might as well just go into this rabbit hole for a couple of weeks. No one will find me."

Burke added that she has "a lot of personal stuff going on right now at the moment," which leaves her feeling like she's "walking on a really tight rope."

The Dancing with the Stars pro also noted that "therapy’s not working right now," which has left her "so dependent" on her co-hosts for support.

"You're my only real sober friends that are in a program," she said. "You guys have that vocabulary that is so relatable for me. When I'm not around you guys then I start to push."

Though she's been sober, Burke has not been part of Alcoholics Anonymous to this point. However, she concluded her chat by requesting that her co-hosts introduce her to AA, and even asking Elizondo Jr. to be her sponsor.

"I'm so nervous. I've been held accountable because I'm telling everybody," she said. "... I have to say [that I'm thinking about drinking], or else I will drink... I'm going to need you guys."

Elizondo Jr. praised Burke for her candor, telling her, "Nothing excites me more than somebody that’s willing to do what AJ and I have done."

During an interview with ET last year, Burke revealed that she decided to quit drinking at her engagement party in 2018. They went on to tie the knot in May 2019.

"It happened because of my father passing away, two years ago. He was an alcoholic," she said. "It was a subconscious thing. It wasn't like I announced it to the world that I was going to try and do this and I didn't even announce it to my husband."

"This all happened literally spur of the moment. I just felt really disgusting inside," she continued. "... That was my decision. I was just like, 'I'm going to do it. I'm going to just keep this promise to myself.' Now it's been two years."

In an interview with Good Morning America around the same time, Burke said that, prior to getting sober, drinking had been an "everyday thing" for her.

"I am an addict. I have those tendencies. When I first moved to Los Angeles I was a party girl. I just took it to the next level and it became an issue," she said. "One thing I do regret is that for the first 10 years of my Dancing career, my memory's a little foggy... I don't remember some of the details."

Though Burke admitted that she lost some friends after making the "life-altering" decision to get sober, she's now thankful to have "a lot more meaningful friends."

"Some people will support it. Some people won't. And at the end of the day, you have to be OK with this," she said. "It's important for me to also surround myself with people who have the same values."



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