History of Recovery Coaching

In 1984, the rock group Aerosmith was attempting a comeback; but it was not working, just as their newest album Back in the Saddle was not climbing the charts. There were a lot of things that were not working for Aerosmith, Joe Perry and Steven Tyler, front men for the group, are referred to as the “Toxic Twins” for their heroin habits and other behaviors on and off the stage. (George-Warren & Romanowski, 2001). In fact, the entire band was heavily drinking or taking drugs.

That summer, while touring for the new album, co-manager, David Krebs, hired a psychiatrist to tour with the band. After a month, the doctor claimed the band was “unfixable”. Co-Manager Krebs left the band. Aerosmith denied drugs were dragging down the tour and the album sales. (Aerosmith and Davis, 1997). The band pointed their fingers outward, blaming everyone else for their problems. The band changed record labels from CBS Records to Arista Records, and hired Tim Collins to manage the band (Aerosmith & Davis 1997).

Tim Collins, told the group that in order to survive they had to get sober, claiming that if they stopped using alcohol and drugs, he could take them “platinum” again (George –Warren & Romanowski , 2001). Band members Joey Kramer and Tom Hamilton both became sober and by the fall of 1986. Steven Tyler went to an in-treatment drug rehabilitation center, followed by Joe Perry. By the end of 1986, the final band member Brad Whitford had accepted sobriety. Even so, Aerosmith’s sobriety commitment to Tim Collins was only partially completed. Collins still had to get these heavy metal rockers on the road, with roadies, groupies, opening acts and exposure to more drugs and alcohol, in order to promote their newest album, Permanent Vacation. Tim was able to help the group, maintain sobriety throughout the tour by contracting a recovery coach, Bob Timmons to stay with the band through the tour.

Bob Timmins, was a California based addiction specialist, an ex-con, ex-gang member and recovering heroin addict who had 32 years in sobriety. He was credited with salvaging the lives of a long list of celebrity drug users including members of Aerosmith, Motley Crue and Blind Melon.  Timmins , one of the founders of MusiCares Foundation, which provides assistance to musicians suffering from addiction, influenced the way recording labels treat recovering entertainment artists. In the past, drugs and alcohol were given freely to the artists to enhance their creativity and satisfy any other “needs”. Traditionally, the backstage area was a very toxic place for a recovering artist. Neil Lasher, VP of promotion/marketing and artist relations at EMI Music Publishing and Bob Timmons heralded the concept of a “Safe Harbor Room”, spaces devoid of drugs and alcohol to isolate the recovering entertainers from the masses of back stage workers that do not adhere to sober practices. In 1990, this “Safe Harbor Room” concept was instituted at the 39th Annual Grammy Awards as a backstage area that provides a support system to artists and crew members struggling with addiction issues and continues to be a fixture in many entertainment venues today.  Timmons, died of respiratory failure in 2008, he was 61. Bob Timmons is recognized as introducing this new era of recovery coaching into the mainstream.

This is the first chapter of “Guide to Coaching People in Recovery from Addiction” a book written by Melissa Killeen, and available as an eBook in January 2013 on Amazon.com

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