Aerosmith: My drinking, my depression and my hopes for Steven Tyler
Please tell me that Steven Tyler’s relapse last year was not the cause of his splitting from Aerosmith this week. Tyler got clean in 1986 – when the band was in a drug and alcohol induced free-fall. Eventually the rest of the band got clean and sober and reunited for rock-n-roll’s biggest comeback ever. The new and improved, clean and sober Aerosmith united generations – with kids listening to their parents’ music and proved that sobriety did not mean a lifetime of musty church basements and bingo games on Saturday nights. In sobriety you can party without a drink, go to concerts and – best of all – remember it all in the morning. In other words, I can still have fun. And if sobriety is not fun, you probably won’t stay sober.
So, why am I writing about Tyler in my depression blog? Because I am triple-diagnosed. I have depression, bipolar and alcoholism. Aerosmith was the music of my high school days back in the mid-70s and I met Tyler in my favorite bar in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Aerosmith’s music was so tied to my drinking days that I did not know if I could ever listen to their music without craving a drink.
When I learned that the entire band had gotten clean and sober, I listened without worry. If they could MAKE that kind of music while sober, I could certainly LISTEN to it sober. The band gave me hope. It was cool to be sober and getting sober was the best thing I could do for my depression. For many years I turned to alcohol – a depressant – to self-medicate my depression.
But as we addicts and alcoholics know, sobriety it is a one-day-at-a-time program. After 20 years of sobriety Tyler relapsed on pain pills he began using after surgery on his throat. He checked into rehab in May 2008. Little has been said about whether Tyler has remained clean and sober but Tyler has been keeping his distance from his band mates. The band cancelled several shows in August after Tyler fell off the stage during a concert. Since then Tyler hasn’t returned phone calls from Joe Perry, the band’s guitarist.
Unfortunately, Tyler is behaving like he is in relapse mode. The last thing a relapsed addict or alcoholic wants to do is hang around a bunch of sober friends – especially when YOU are the one who encouraged THEM to get clean and sober. It must be tough for Tyler, too, having become the poster child for recovered hard rockers during his 20 years clean and sober.
The good news is that Tyler is a survivor. If he has relapsed he knows how to make a comeback: Just keep coming back. It works if you work it.
Stapleton, C. (2009). Aerosmith: My drinking, my depression and my hopes for Steven Tyler. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 3, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/depression/2009/11/aerosmith-my-drinking-my-depression-and-my-hopes-for-steven-tyler/