Some Are Sicker Than Others: The Glenn Beck Sobriety Story

April 9, 2009 · Filed Under Fox News, Media 

Glenn Beck is an admitted (recovering) alcoholic. He says that alcohol and substance abuse had ruined his life. He says he no longer partakes.  Now, I’m not the kind of guy who reveals his sobriety…but if I was, I would say that as a (20 year) AA recovering alcoholic, I can personally tell you that just because someone stops drinking it doesn’t mean that he stops being stupid.

Glenn Beck proves that beyond the shadow of a drink.

No where in the 12 Steps does it say that following them will increase your wit or wisdom.

What it does say that to stay sober you have to get honest with yourself.

AA Step Number Ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

While this would discount most any talk show host from staying sober, most talk show hosts don’t flaunt their sobriety like Beck. My guess is that Beck has never gotten down to the last of the AA Traditions…

AA Tradition Number Twelve: Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

My guess is that either Beck doesn’t honestly believe anything he says is untrue or he doesn’t know what he says is unfounded or misleading.

Whatever, Beck may be an alcoholic, but he certainly isn’t recovering very well.  At least not the way Alcoholics Anonymous sees it.

More/Less Sobriety to Come



45 Responses to “Some Are Sicker Than Others: The Glenn Beck Sobriety Story”

  1. Dink Singer on April 9th, 2009 3:20 pm

    “My guess is that Beck has never gotten down to the last of the AA Traditions”

    “I would say that as a (20 year) AA recovering alcoholic…”

    How did Mr. Young get to the last one and miss the one before it:
    “Eleven—Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.”

    But it doesn’t mention “blog.”

  2. Diane on April 9th, 2009 4:06 pm

    I wish any recovering alcoholic or drug abuser the best.

    Glenn Beck appears to be disintegrating before our eyes on his show.
    fox cable is not being responsible by showing this and beck’s words and actions are inflaming others to violence.

    It is a sad commentary on our society that this passes for news.

  3. Harvey Chess on April 9th, 2009 5:40 pm

    I’ll leave aside the extent to which this discourse flies in the face of the traditions of AA. And, I do not know about Beck’s apparent promotion of his non-drinking/using, since I wouldn’t give him the time of day, nor his oh so appropriate media outlet. I do believe that alcoholism is a profoundly selfish condition. So, a program of recovery would seem to involve supplanting that condition with an alternative and, in effect, getting out of one’s own way to learn how to live a life differently. It would seem to involve a willingness to pay attention to some suggested simple life principles that have been effective with a bunch of folks in a quest for getting well and recovering. So, I’m guessing Beck is a classic example of a sicko on what is often labelled a dry drunk. If this is so, he’s a study in denial and dishonesty. And, his media persona would seem to confirm it. At the very least.

    Mr. Chess,
    Mr Young

  4. 1PissedOffSandy on April 9th, 2009 6:08 pm

    Actually it doesn’t pass for news; it barely passes for opinion.

    Recovering from alcohol addiction is no guarantee that one will be saved from total dementia, either. Once demented, always demented. Maybe there should be a Demented Anonymous. I’ll vote Beck as its president, Billo, 1st v.p. and down the line through Sean, Newt, Rush and a few totally derailed senators and house members.

  5. 1PissedOffSandy on April 9th, 2009 6:10 pm

    If Beck ever sees this, he’s really gonna hate that photo of him. Kinda tells the whole story.

  6. Anonymous on April 10th, 2009 1:17 am

    I’ve been a member of A.A. half my life, and I can tell you that Glenn Beck is the epitome of a dry drunk. Actually, from listening and watching him the few times that I have, I cannot be certain that he is not still drinking or has fallen back on some crutch such as prescription pills. It’s hard to fathom that anyone could be this crazy after working the 12 steps and staying sober for 20 years. He is an embarrassment to A.A. members who have truly embraced the principles and traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous and who have thoroughly worked the 12 steps.

  7. Davis on April 10th, 2009 3:18 pm

    “He is an embarrassment to A.A. members who have truly embraced the principles and traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous and who have thoroughly worked the 12 steps.”

    This is precisely one of the reasons that anonymity before the public is so emphasized, lest a suffering alcoholic see Mr. Beck’s antics and decide NOT to try AA, due to the way it’s been (mis)represented. Were this to happen, it could easily prove fatal to the suffering alcoholic. The early members of AA didn’t devise these traditions for grins and giggles; they came from the blood, sweat, and tears of both those who succeeded and those who failed. To me, breaking anonymity is irresponsible, and almost always wholly unnecessary; usually it’s done by people still suffering from untreated alcoholism.

  8. Judith on April 10th, 2009 4:00 pm

    What I’d like to know is how Beck ever achieved radio and TV “stardom”. The guy has a dweebish personality, amateurish broadcasting skills and idiotic ideas. It’s really frightening that he can garner an audience. As for his former alcoholism, I think he’s much like our late, unmissed President in that he may have stopped drinking, but he still exudes the obnoxious behaviors of an arrogant drunk.

  9. Jerry Codekas on April 18th, 2009 10:16 am

    Is this what passes for reasoned disagreement? Attack the messenger not the message? I would hope for better.

  10. Anonymous M. on May 26th, 2009 8:18 pm

    I hope he is indeed sober I just listened to him on media matters and he doesn’t sound too good as a recovering Alcoholic I am concerned I hope he has a sponsor and his sponsor hears this clip

  11. Anonymous M. on May 27th, 2009 5:15 pm

    “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

  12. Jody on June 2nd, 2009 3:47 am

    Mr. Young,

    By writing this blog, you are showing that you are no more actively practicing “these steps in all of your affairs…” than my dog is done licking his own balls. I didn’t get the memo that god died and made you God?

    “When we are angry, we pause…” If you don’t like Beck, then don’t listen to him, but a personal attack and passing judgement is wrong. “And when we were wrong, we admitted it!” What does your sponsor have to say about this? Is this what the Big Book says to do with your resentments.

    By all means, sir, go ahead and “cast the first stone…” but what did he personally do to you.
    I admit he could’ve done a better job at annonimity, but do another 4th step, my friend, and add him to your list. Hell, Donald Rumsfield was on mine! Then HUMBLY ask God for you to get over it. This entire blog gives AA a worse name than Glen Beck’s stupid show could ever.

    Jodys last blog post..Generation Xill

  13. Jody on June 2nd, 2009 3:53 am

    “At least not the way Alcoholics Anonymous sees it.”

    Really, did your “red” phone ring at 3am last night with Bill W. and God on the other end telling you to write this, LOL?

    Jodys last blog post..Generation Xill

  14. anonymous on June 7th, 2009 10:01 am

    The judgement of others while outing ones self and ignoring the traditions seems to conflict with 12 step recovery practice.

  15. Steve Young on June 7th, 2009 10:24 am


    In actuality, I knew this would come before I sent it out, but my rationale was threefold…

    1. I’ve always thought of anonymity as concerning talking about who’s at the meeting (outing) and what is said there. In terms of “promotion,” it means that we don’t advertise.

    2. It’s not press, radio and films…it’s a blog and the keepers of the flame should have foreseen it and made provisions, which they didn’t, so blame it on them, not me.

    And just in case I was unable to sway you, or in fact, myself…

    3. As I edited this, I made sure to note that I was not the type of person who would say what I said, but if I was that type of person, this is what I would say. Certainly, I cannot be held responsible for what someone I’m not says.

    Still thanks. As correct as you are, my program is a bit imperfect, allowing me to be wrong and still be right. Now when can I be a talk show host?

  16. Kathy@anaheim dog bite attorney on June 9th, 2009 5:13 pm

    I understand the reasoning behind not discussing religion or politics. So much anger and hate around here.

  17. Andrea on June 13th, 2009 1:31 am

    I have been sober for over 5 years and work the steps. While I can’t stand Glen Beck and he sure is a Dry drunk he has the right to admit being an alcoholic anywhere he pleases. It is not breaking the traditions. Now if he is talking about others he knows in AA or puts AA in a controversial position then he his breaking the anonymity of the program. I can choose to be anonymous about my alcoholism or not.

  18. Gordon on June 23rd, 2009 10:04 pm

    AA is a wonderful organization. It is also without leadership except for the Big Book and its 12 steps.

    AA boasts a 67% recidivist rate.

    Judging from the criticism I read above of a man who used to drink, but quit and has become successful, I can see that there might be some missing steps.

  19. A Sober Someone on August 3rd, 2009 5:42 pm

    It’s safe to say that those of us in recovery are lucky to know the difference. The mainstream culture is still blatantly clueless about this disease and the destruction it can bring on in so many curious and creative ways. Thank god nobody ever put me in front of a television when I was in early sobriety or I would have be spraying the audience with my own special brand of gibberish as well.

    What’s more alarming is the audience for a show like this, which says a lot more about the level of codependency in this county than dry drunkeness.

    Maybe Glenn should just change the name of his show to Cunning! Baffling! Powerful!

  20. danielle murray on August 28th, 2009 1:29 am

    well I do not agree with Glenn for braking his anonymity I do not think he is a dry drunk either, or that there is anything at all wrong with him! all aa says is that we get is a day with out a drink! step 1 is the only step we need do 100%, Glenn does well for him self, and is very funny too. If you watch him daily you would lurn guit a bit from him. What he does is speek his thoughts who the heck is any other drunk to judge him? If you think u r better than him….. how many fingers are pionting at you?

  21. jerenisch on September 24th, 2009 10:58 pm

    Mr. Young, after reading your comments on Glenn Becks sobriety issues, I would suggest that you might take a more cautious approach to revealing your opinions on the level of ones sobriety. It seems that it is all too easy for one to criticize and become the one who is placing personalities before principles. For you to say that he is not recovering well is strictly an opinion and in no way can be related as to how AA sees it, unless you are the voice of AA. This type of thinking is what corrupts unity among us trying to recover in AA. None of us are perfect, I’m surely no exception, so I can only offer you some friendly advice from a recovery brother…Keep Coming Back!

  22. Richard G. Burns (Dick B.) on October 8th, 2009 9:01 pm

    There are simple approaches to the foregoing comments, and some of the replies take the high road quite well. In sum, (1) If you don’t like Glenn Beck, just say so. (2) If you don’t like A.A., just say so. (3)If you think you can judge an individual and the A.A. fellowship, then you are an opining critic spitting into the wind. Too bad the initial article provided a venue for cranky critics, pontificating AAs, and ill-informed students of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions to blow off steam. As for me, I’m very thankful to A.A. for what it enabled me to do in recovery and to help others to the same result. As for the behavior of others in or out of A.A., there’s an A.A. saying, “It’s none of my business.” God Bless, Dick B.

  23. AA focused on October 9th, 2009 9:23 pm

    I truly believe that Beck is not the type of person that I would choose to follow in any program. I also know that anonymity is broken in a public forum…press, radio, films, tv, blog, facebook, etc. This breaks the tradition but it will not break the fellowship. Common sense is something that returned when I put down the booze. I also know that by paying attention to him on his show will just add fuel to his anger. I will do what I was taught to do. I will pray for him. I will ask the HP of my understanding to give him all the things that I want for myself…and pray that my HP will do just that. Then there will be no more blogs, shows, or idiot mouthings about 12 steps that evidently are not being followed. Thank you for letting me share…;O)

  24. Alex on March 13th, 2010 12:30 am

    First, there is no such thing as a “dry drunk”- it’s just an AA invented word used to describe and dismiss it’s critics and people(like Beck) who show(by demonstration) that the 12 steps are quackery.
    And that is the point- Beck practices/believes in the whole 12 step religion that claims that Alcoholism is a “spiritual disease”. What good did that cult do to make him a better person?

  25. Matt H on May 17th, 2010 10:11 am

    I’m not going to get into the whole AA 12-steps cult/cure debate, but suffice it to say that I have some knowledge about recovery. I find it interesting that Glenn Beck, an admitted alcoholic who supposedly is in recovery, could manage to make the claim that “empathy” is what lead to Nazi Germany’s final solution. That is just wrong on so many levels.

  26. Karen on May 18th, 2010 1:50 pm

    Substance addiction is such a hard thing to deal with. Sometimes rehab is not the only solution to it. The love and moral support or his family would make a big difference.

    Karens last blog post..lawsuits settlement

  27. Jerry B on July 13th, 2010 3:27 pm

    I take Glenn’s talking about being in recovery as being a way of sharing his “Experience, Strength and Hope”. I can hear AA in his voice and it makes me smile. He must be doing something correct to stay sober “one day at a time” for awhile now. I have told people I am in AA. AA and my Higher Power are the reason I am sober. My sponsor and AA never told me what I have to do to stay sober. It really is “here is what we did”. I want what they have. Just look at the turn in Mr Beck’s life since AA.

  28. Jim Kochevar on July 13th, 2010 5:21 pm

    All a bit silly! To those who judge Beck’s quality of recovery and ability to practice AA’s program - Show me where you are qualified to do so in AA literture. To those who protect and defend AA as it is perfect and does no wrong - open your eyes. I have been in AA and sober for 28 years; seen a lot nonsense in the name of AA and love and tolerance - this discussion included. Recovery is about living a life based on spiritual principles as each of understands them - not how each of us expects others to live their life. We know only a “little” - God will reveal more to us, until then keep trudging.

  29. basur on October 13th, 2010 10:14 am

    thrut or lie? real or unreal? interesting notice that what happened after this post?

  30. Ron on October 13th, 2010 9:52 pm

    Sounds to me like a lot of people taking other peoples inventory !

  31. Gunga Alunga on October 16th, 2010 1:01 am

    None of this matters. When Beck dies and goes to Mormon heaven, he gets his own planet. Yes, that’s the secret that practicing mormons don’t want you to know. When mormon men (not women) die, they become the gods of their own planet. In fact, our god (according to mormonism) is just a mormon who died long ago and became the god of our planet. Also, men must “call” their wives to them in heaven by a secret name. If the man refuses to call the woman to heaven, they must remain in the grave. Do you all get how nutty this philosophy is and how incredibly gullible one would have to be to buy it?! But Mitt Romney is a mormon by his own admission “true blue, through and through.” Beck is a megalomaniac whose faith only exacerbated his psychosis.

  32. Kantoormeubelen on October 22nd, 2010 1:12 pm

    I’m not sure I can agree with the article above here. I applaud Glenn Beck for taking drastic measures to get rid of the alcohol and all that comes with it. The way he throws it to the public: it’s not exactly anonymous now. But perhaps the guy just wants to share his story and appear a bit humble by his own shortcomings?

  33. eyelashGirl on October 22nd, 2010 5:23 pm

    I wish all the recovering addicts best of luck it is not an easy thing to change a lifestyle and transform your life.

  34. Atari Punk on January 5th, 2011 7:06 pm

    The man is clearly mentally ill, or crazy like a fox. Humoring him via reportage on his ludicrous claims about his false (television) persona only adds fuel to the fire. As children, we were told to “ignore them and they’ll go away”: nothing could be truer for any form of advertisement supported media. The problem is that no-one watches fox news, but everyone talks about it. The web is a form of advertisement where we constantly give play to irrelevancies like Beck, Palin, and the so called “Tea Party”. Ignore them. Stop talking about them. Stop talking to them. A small group of concerted individuals has successfully lowered the level of american political discourse to Beck’s level. We are playing into their hands by even acknowledging them.

  35. Sandra on January 10th, 2011 1:31 am

    This type of thinking is what corrupts unity among us trying to recover in AA. None of us are perfect, I’m surely no exception. It is not breaking the traditions. Now if he is talking about others he knows in AA or puts AA in a controversial position then he his breaking the anonymity of the program.

  36. Karlo@how to become rich on January 10th, 2011 4:29 am

    Recovering from alcohol addiction is no guarantee that one will be saved from total dementia, either.

  37. Baby Gates on January 17th, 2011 1:24 am

    Does he not have a better picture? I think the picture says everything.

  38. link on January 19th, 2011 2:33 pm

    If Beck ever sees this, he’s really gonna hate that photo of him. Kinda tells the whole story(2).

  39. Will on January 20th, 2011 10:00 pm

    Simiarlities to George W are striking. Both ‘recovered’ alcoholics, both not the sharpest tools in the shed.

    K2 Skis

  40. Julie on January 27th, 2011 7:38 pm

    I am not for one going to judge Beck’s recovery or lack there of. I talk about my recovery openly in that I believe my sharing my story may help another. I also discuss what I think works or worked to help me down this path (which I must say AA’s rate of relapse was too high for me and I had to leave the meetings for my recovery to continue). I do know this I am not a poster child either for recovery, just a person on the journey. The difference between me and Beck on this, I don’t have a tv show where millions of people can watch me succeed and mess up.

  41. Anuncios Convivio on February 20th, 2011 11:16 pm

    I am nearly 15 years sober. I got to regular meetings. I sponsor people regularly. I am almost always working with a newcomer. I have two homegroups and hold a chair position for our local intergroup. I am active in the fellowship, go to outings, have regular contact with AA’rs. I go through the steps regularly…as I work with sponsees, of course… with my sponsor or a group about every year to year and a half.

  42. Treadmill Traci on February 23rd, 2011 8:09 pm

    It’s kind of ironic that glenn beck is a recovering Aloholic, yet you would have to hammered to watch more than 15 seconds of his show. This is not news fox, its garbage. How can people watch this and agree with a word of it? Open up your eyes america before sara palin is our president!

  43. Julia on March 11th, 2011 7:15 am

    It’s really frightening that he can garner an audience. As for his former alcoholism, I think he’s much like our late, unmissed President in that he may have stopped drinking, but he still exudes the obnoxious behaviors of an arrogant drunk. Thank you.

  44. Kirt Mathew on March 12th, 2011 6:50 am

    Why single out someone, point out why you dislike him, and all the while singing your own praises? I sense you have some other issues that need some attention. Having said all of that, nice article, though I take issue with you conclusions.
    Well written.

  45. Treadmill Traci on April 12th, 2011 5:47 pm

    How judgemental of you all. Who is to say he hasn’t worked his program just as well as the rest of you. Its none of your business how anyone else does or doesn’t work their own program. That’s right, their OWN program. Butt out.

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