Eleven years ago my husband told me about a new show he was listening to on AM radio and suggested that I might like it as well. I was shocked to hear this “sick twisted freak” (a phrase often used on the show in its early days) talk about being a recovering, alcoholic and a devote Mormon. “What? You can’t tell people that!” At the time I was battling with my own alcoholism, and denial thereof, and couldn’t believe that a member of the LDS faith would be that open about their past. At the time I was inactive from the same faith.
Regardless of how you may feel about Glenn Beck’s political views (Conservative/Libertarian – government stay out of my life and leave me alone), you have to respect a man who stands up for what he believes in by being 100% truthful on his past transgressions of alcoholism; and how he screwed up his life enough to lead him to a desire of redemption. It is something to be admired. As I began to listen to his show more, I kept thinking that maybe if this guy could overcome alcoholism and turn his life around, maybe, just maybe, I could do the same. It would take another 4 years of listening to his show, on a regular bases, and many nights of passing out, before I would have the will to take the first step toward sobriety. It happened December 14, 2004. That is the last time I took a drink and the day I called a rehab center and signed myself up for an outpatient program.
Four months of two times a week meetings, and many lunch hour AA meetings later, I completed the program. Every day I would listen to Glenn Beck as I drove around doing sales calls for my Account Executive job. Weekly he would share a story about how he messed up his life through the bottle, but now he had changed. His self deprecating retelling of drunk-day events, were very relatable. What moved me most was what he refers to as “his pivot-point.” He was telling his girls a bed time story one night and the next morning they wanted him to tell the story again, but he couldn’t remember it. A moment of coming face to face with the one thing that took him outside of himself, his children, they woke him up to the destruction he was creating.
It was my own children that did the same for me. That dose of reality that God gives you, “you are not just affecting your own life, but the lives of the children – My children – that I have sent you” Yes, I truly felt that I had been reprimanded by my Father in Heaven; that I was wasting my life in a bottle that had become the most important part of my existence. I was not living up to my potential. I was not doing what I was sent here to do. I would change! So I held on to the good things in my life (my family) and I purged the waste. I turned back to God, because I knew I couldn’t do this without Him, and I pushed off from rock bottom. During my re-self discovery and hours of therapy, both for me and family members, I was diagnosed with depression that eventually was narrowed down to social anxiety and adult ADD/ADHD. “Well,” I thought, “another thing I had in common with Glenn Beck,” interesting.
This diagnosis once again changed my life and put into perspective a lot of who I am. Things that I thought were just “personality flaws,” were actually part of having ADHD – “chronic forgetfulness, anxiety, low self-esteem, employment problems, difficulty controlling anger, impulsiveness, addiction or substance abuse, poor organizational skills, procrastination, low frustration level, chronic boredom, difficulty concentrating when reading, mood swings, depression, relationship problems.” (WEB MD LLC, 2012) Wait a second… you mean I can actually do something about all of the things in my life that have hindered my progress? Seriously, I can be successful? Or at least be “normal” enough to call on my abilities to change my life. Yes, it is possible. Again I drew from Glenn Beck’s relatable quirks of his “ADD moments;” something that reminded me that I wasn’t alone in dealing with the strange things in my head, and why I am the way that I am. The biggest and by far the best realization, admitting these things actually makes me stronger. I thought I had to hide them. I knew Glenn Beck talked about them all the time, but I wasn’t going to do that. I could slip back into my LDS life, return to the fold, and no one would be the wiser of my past.
God had a different idea for me. Apparently I needed to share my story with others –ANXIETY! “People will judge me, I can’t do that!” “I have changed. I don’t want people to know who I was.” Then one day in 2009 I was asked to give a talk in church; the topic, the difference in my life now that I have returned to activity in my LDS faith. If you are not familiar with the LDS faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) and how our Sunday meetings are conducted, we start off with an hour, or so, of our “Sacrament Meeting.” During this time we generally have three people who are asked, a week ahead of time, to give a 5-15 minute talk on a subject. While praying on what exactly I should say I felt a prompting that I should share something about overcoming alcoholism. I quickly dismissed this feeling and began writing about what I wanted to talk about; but the words were scattered and I couldn’t form my thoughts; again the feeling came, very strong, that I had to share my alcoholism. I started to cry and pray. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t stand in front of all my friends and tell them what I once was. I was then comforted and I complied. The words then came to me so easily, I wrote quickly. When Sunday arrived I was so nervous, but when I stood up and started speaking, it felt right. I had a number of people talk to me afterward and I realized, finally, how important it is that I share my story with others. That’s the lesson I learned, my past is what makes me who I am today. There is no shame in calling on the atonement of Jesus Christ and embracing the gift of repentance. Not sharing this with others, is not allowing the Spirit of God to lead others to Him as well.
I have to admit it is very liberating – the truth; it will indeed “set you free.” For this, Glenn Beck will always be my hero. Thank you Glenn, for having the courage to tell your story with the world so that others, like me, could do the same.