"I am grateful and owe a thanks to them for my sobriety," Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler now says, looking back at his bandmates forcing him to get clean in the '80s

By Benjamin VanHoose
December 18, 2019 02:25 PM
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Steven Tyler is opening up about the rocky moments in his struggle with addiction that ultimately led to his sobriety.

In a new interview with Haute Living published on Monday, the Aerosmith lead singer, 71, reflected on the band’s heyday in the 1980s — and the tumultuous conflicts that came with it — as they now take on their Las Vegas residency in true rockstar fashion.

Tyler recalled one turning point in particular that came in 1988, when the people closest to him urged him to seek help for his drug addiction.

“There was a moment in ’88 where management and the band pulled an intervention on me. They thought, ‘Get the lead singer sober, and all our problems would be over,'” he told the outlet. “So I got sober and, you know, it took me many years to get over the anger of them sending me to rehab while they went on vacation.”

He added: “But today, because of that moment … I am grateful and owe a thanks to them for my sobriety.”

Steven Tyler
| Credit: Brian Bowen Smith

Taking inspiration from Aerosmith’s hit 1989 song “Janie’s Got a Gun,” Tyler decided to start a charity to benefit abused and neglected girls. In 2015, he announced Janie’s Fund, just one of the ways he set out to help make a difference. By 2017, the foundation opened a women’s shelter near Atlanta called Janie’s House.

“I got to thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if I could have a Janie’s Fund?’ So instead of ‘Janie’s Got a Gun,’ Janie’s got a Fund and have a Janie’s House,” he said. “It was an early dream, and sure enough, 20 years later I met with some folks from Youth Villages that adopted me. My manager at the time introduced me to them. It was another dream come true.”

Tyler previously told PEOPLE that charitable ventures had always been his goal until drug abuse took over his life decades ago.

“I think this is what I was born to do,” Tyler said of helping others with his foundation. “Then the ’80s came and I fell to my knees with my addictions.”

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Steven Tyler
| Credit: Brian Bowen Smith

Describing the ’80s as “terrible,” Tyler told Haute Living that at the time, rehabs weren’t really a thing, and that “drugs took us down.” The support showed by the rock group members — including Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Joey Kramer and Tom Hamilton — helped get him through the difficult periods.

“I have had many times in my life where I just couldn’t handle — whether it was a marriage or my addiction had reared its ugly head — and the rest of the guys in the band are not unlike that,” he said. “But we have all seen each other through it, and we are here today.”

Tyler continued: “My whole life is dreams coming true. I am so beyond grateful for it all.”

Steven Tyler
| Credit: Brian Bowen Smith

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.