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May Wilkerson May Wilkerson

Video: Glenn Beck Takes On-Air Call From Alcoholic, Tells Him to “Find God”

The conservative radio host tells a struggling alcoholic that he can't get sober without religion and AA.

6 Substance

Glenn Beck shifted briefly from pushing a conservative political agenda to pushing a conservative AA agenda during a segment of his televised radio show yesterday. The far-right pundit took a rare on-air call from an alcoholic imploring for help to get sober. “Your faith in God is something that I desperately need right now,” says the caller (see video below). He then asks Beck, a recovering alcoholic himself, to “tell more about his struggles.”

The caller, Ed, says he’s a bus driver and married father of two from Massachusetts who recently relapsed after a year of sobriety and lost his job. He tells Beck he desperately wants to be sober, but struggles with the God element of 12-step programs.

“You won’t make it without God, and you won’t make it without AA,” Beck tells him. “I was in exactly your same shoes, where I was trying to hold my sobriety, I couldn’t.” Beck then explains how religion and God were essential to his recovery. He urges Ed to “find God” and insists that their conversation was “not a coincidence” since he receives thousands of calls and rarely takes them on air.

Beck was apparently flooded with emails and messages on social media from listeners saying that the call had an influence or helped them get sober.

But what about the many struggling alcoholics who are turned off by 12-step recovery because they believe it is full of pushy Christian Bible-thumpers? Beck’s rote answer ignores these folks in a time when 12-step meetings are becoming increasingly open and welcoming to atheists and agnostics.

But given that Beck’s worldview is a blind embrace of old-school traditions (or his own self-satisfying version of them), it’s no surprise that he would push back against a more diverse and inclusive model of recovery.