Steven Tyler Surprises Drug Court Graduates With Commencement Speech

By Bryan Le 02/19/18

The rock icon, who has two sponsors, advised members of the graduating class who attend AA to never stop going to meetings.

Steven Tyler in concert at The Masonic in San Francisco, CA

Graduates of the Maui Drug Court’s 62nd program got a special treat when legendary rocker Steven Tyler came to their courtroom to offer some advice from his own experiences.

“My name’s Steven,” he introduced himself. “I’m an alcoholic and a recovering drug addict.”

The Aerosmith frontman, who lives in Maui, didn’t graduate from the program himself, but felt he had something of value to share with the criminal defendants who enrolled in intensive court-based treatment rather than incarceration.

“My hats off to you,” he said to the graduation attendees. “You’re my heroes here today because you have come from somewhere that I lived myself. To come out through the wormhole like you’re doing today is a true beyond-belief miracle. I’m so proud of you, each and every one.”

In the courtroom of 2nd Circuit Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza, Tyler was seated among several judges and a local police chief.

“I’m honored, so honored to be surrounded by such higher-ups—Judge Cardoza and everybody here who, back in my heyday, I would have been scared to death of,” Tyler remarked.

He read passages from a Daily Reflections book that helped him back when he first entered addiction treatment 26 years ago, before offering tips of his own on how to stay on the straight and narrow.

“If you have to take any drugs, do not hold them yourselves,” he advised. “And if you’re in a 12-step program, keep going to meetings… You stop going to meetings, you’re going to use again. The way to share this program is with others at meetings. That’s what saved my life. So I want to pass that on to you guys.”

He mentioned that he has two sponsors, one on each coast of the United States, “‘cause I don’t trust myself.”

While most people know Tyler for his music, it’s not his proudest achievement. “That’s nothing compared to being sober,” he said. “That’s nothing compared to having my kids love me.”

After the ceremony, Tyler stuck around to meet the graduates and their families and posed for pictures with them.

He estimates that back in the day, he probably snorted millions of dollars' worth of cocaine.

“Probably, realistically, [it was closer to] 5 or 6 [million], easy,” he said on a 60 Minutes interview in Australia. “But it doesn't matter. You could also say I snorted half of Peru, but, you know, it's what we did.”

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter