The rocker battled substance abuse issues just before his cult group split for the first time in 2004. In 2006, he was pulled over for erratic driving in upstate New York, and police officers caught him in possession of prescription drugs that weren't in his name. He was handed a 14-month community service sentence.

He graduated from a rehabilitation programme in 2008 and has no desire to ever use drugs again.

"The night I got arrested, I couldn't go 10 minutes without taking something," he told drug court attendees at the Washington County Courthouse in New York earlier this week (ends17Jun16). "Nine years later, I don't think about drinking or drugging anymore."

The 51-year-old still attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and also volunteers as a sponsor to help others stay clean. He insists the drug court programme has been life-changing and stresses it is important to have them all over America.

"I thought I would come in here and say, 'I'm sober', and get to go home," he continued. "At the time, I thought this was the worst thing that ever happened to me. Today, it's without a question the best thing that ever happened to me."