With Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler all over the place goin’ back into time in a KIA Stinger, we thought it would be good to go back to the time of his first sobriety, which lasted over a dozen years and marked the most successful period of his and the band’s career. So without further ado, Recovery Boot Camp proudly brings you the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer par excellence Steven Tyler, circa 1985, on “another path to enlightenment other than drugs and booze.”
At my first AA meeting, I looked around and felt right at home. I got in touch with whatever me had been ther back then. I got to meet this fantastic woman who conducted guided imageries. The sessions took aboout an hour. And in that place you would learn to slither like a snake or -- if you couldn’t swim -- project yourself swimmimg across a lake, or saying good night to a child that died years ago.
You sit there quietly and the therapists talk to you: “Okay, imagine the sun is going down, you smell the warm summer air. Where are you right now? You’re at your back door, you’re in a chair by your back door.” There’s a whole room full of people tuned in -- guided imagery. “Here comes your dog, bend down and pet your dog.” And in your mind you’re petting your dog. Some of the guided images were so beautiful, so heart-rending, people would begin crying. “Picture your mom, can you hear her calling you for dinner?” After ten minutes of doing that with your eyes closed you are in a very vulnerable state.
How sweet is that! Envision a cat that you loved so much, or get ion a boat that once sank. Now you’re on the boat again, go out to your favorite fishing spot, you’re rowing. People would actually sway back and forth while envisioning the images. In their mind they were rowing.
How would you describe purple -- grape juice maybe. What does black taste like? Licorice, I guess. I’m trying to think of a color that you can’t associate with something that tastes good. Orange -- oranges. Yellow banana.
And that’s what I do with songs, I navigate through images.
Sometimes I feel like I’m so fucking boring in sobriety, but you’ve got to remember, when you take drugs you’re just spinning in your own head… so up in your own Kool-Aid, you know? Up in da Kool-Aid, mon, but you do not know de fla-vah.
From Steven Tyler’s Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Memoir (2011; HarperCollins). Photo: Michael Harnois