The New Celeb Hotspot: Drug Court!
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The New Celeb Hotspot: Drug Court!

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Steven Tyler: Hero to Hawaii Drug Court Grads

Some people go to Hawaii to tan. Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler recently went there to perform in front of 20,000 people and then to drop by the 49th Maui/Moloka’i Drug Court program, where he encouraged the graduates to continue their recovery by attending AA and other support group meetings.

“I am also a drug addict and alcoholic and fighting it every day,” said Tyler, who went on to strongly endorse Alcoholics Anonymous, making Tyler the most famous person to discuss sobriety in Hawaii since Russell Brand’s character in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

But, really, this is amazing. Plenty of celebrities endorse sobriety but it’s always cool to hear the ones who go out of their way to help those who might really need the encouragement, not to mention those that shamelessly endorse AA.

“If you stop going to AA meetings, you’re to wind up using again,” Tyler said. “I express my joy all because of AA.” This isn’t the first time Tyler has endorsed AA. On The Dr. Oz Show earlier this year, he admitted to spending five million dollars on cocaine once and being to rehab eight times before getting sober.

Maui Wowie 

At the end of the Drug Court graduation, which celebrated its 500th graduate since starting in August 2000, Tyler stood with the judges and shook hands with the graduates. It was like the Rainbow Room in the 80’s except with narcotics officers instead of groupies.

The Aerosmith frontman went on to say that he has seen the “complete turnaround” in people who go through Drug Court, adding, “You never see that in jails, People don’t change. You can’t get anybody to change. But here they change.”

He actually had a lot more to say, getting pretty passionate when talking about how alcoholics are passionate. This isn’t dorky of him or me poking fun at him; it’s just plain interesting to me. I guess when you’re as set in rock and roll stone as he is, you he can say anything and not care. I feel like so many celebrities are super into recovery but won’t say “AA” out of fear of alienating fans because of the ridiculous misconception that it’s a Christian cult.

Tyler, meanwhile, explained that he regularly attends AA meetings whether he’s on tour or at home. He looks up the meetings by the hotel and, he says, “I walk in and say, ‘I’m home.'” Tyler’s passion for sobriety is a breath of fresh air and I’m happy to breathe it in.

Trend Alert: Mackelmore’s in on This Action Too

Yet Tyler’s not the only bold faced name to be sharing words of wisdom in drug court: Seattle’s most prized musician since Kurt Cobain, Mackelmore, recently spoke at the King County program in Western Washington, where he shared that he’s known as “Ben” in AA and that he was arrested at 15 when he started using drugs.

“This is life or death for me. It’s that serious,” Mackelmore/Ben said in front of a program that drops 70% of the drug court participants who graduate.

Mackelmore’s addressed his addiction and sobriety before but I didn’t pay much attention to him until saw this story. When I was in rehab in 2006, an ex-NBA superstar from the Houston Rockets was in the back of an on-site AA meeting and that made me want to stay sober for another day. If I was graduating from drug court and seeing one of these guys in the flesh and hearing them talk about their passion for recovery, it just might change the rest of my life.

Photo courtesy of daigooliva (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)

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About Author

Carlos Herrera is a comedian, photographer and writer whose work can also be found on The Fix . He has been featured in LA Weekly and has performed at The Hollywood Improv among other places.