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My name is Glenn Beck, and I need help

The Fox News conservative commentator exhorted a sprawling crowd on the Mall on Saturday to restore the traditional American value of honor.

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By Kathleen Parker
Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Despite all the words spilled in evaluating Glenn Beck's tent-less revival last weekend, the real meaning may have been hiding in plain sight.

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Beck's "Restoring Honor" gathering on the Mall was right out of the Alcoholics Anonymous playbook. It was a 12-step program distilled to a few key words, all lifted from a prayer delivered from the Lincoln Memorial: healing, recovery and restoration.

Saturday's Beckapalooza was yet another step in Beck's own personal journey of recovery. He may as well have greeted the crowd of his fellow disaffected with:

"Hi. My name is Glenn, and I'm messed up."

Beck's history of alcoholism and addiction is familiar to any who follow him. He has made no secret of his past and is quick to make fun of himself. As he once said: "You can get rich making fun of me. I know. I've made a lot of money making fun of me."

Self-mockery -- and cash -- seems to come easily to him.

Any cursory search of Beck quotes also reveals the language of the addict:

-- "It is still morning in America. It just happens to be kind of a head-pounding, hung-over, vomiting-for-four-hours kind of morning in America."

-- "I have not heard people in the Republican Party yet admit that they have a problem."

-- "You know, we all have our inner demons. I, for one -- I can't speak for you, but I'm on the verge of moral collapse at any time. It can happen by the end of the show."

Indeed. After the hangover comes admission of the addiction, followed by surrender to a higher power and acknowledgment that one is always fallen.

These may be random quotes, but they can't be considered isolated or out of context. For Beck, addiction has been a defining part of his life, and recovery is a process inseparable from the Glenn Beck Program. His emotional, public breakdowns are replicated in AA meetings in towns and cities every day.


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