EP 9 – Ryan Dusick: Maroon 5’s Rockstar Story of Recovery & Service

In this gripping episode, we delve into the harrowing addiction journey of Ryan Dusick, the renowned musician and former drummer of the multi-platinum band Maroon 5. Join us as we explore the depths of Ryan’s struggle with addiction, from the dizzying highs of fame to the crushing lows of substance abuse.

Ryan’s story is a stark reminder that addiction knows no boundaries and can affect even those living seemingly glamorous lives. We’ll hear firsthand accounts of Ryan’s battle with addiction, his relentless pursuit of sobriety, and the transformative power of recovery.

Through intimate interviews and raw, unfiltered conversations, Ryan opens up about the demons that haunted him, the toll addiction took on his career and personal relationships, and the pivotal moments that led him to seek help. His journey serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for anyone grappling with their own addiction, offering a glimmer of light in the darkest of times.

Tune in to this compelling episode of “From Rock Bottom to Rockstar” as we uncover the raw and unvarnished truth behind Ryan Dusick’s addiction journey, reminding us all that no matter how far we fall, it’s never too late to rise again. 


The views and opinions expressed by our guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the stand or beliefs of the host or the podcast. We aim to provide a diverse range of perspectives and ideas, fostering open and respectful discussions. We encourage critical thinking and forming your own conclusions. Enjoy the show!

About Our Guest (Ryan Dusick)

Ryan Dusick is a true trailblazer with a captivating story to share. As the Founding Drummer of Maroon 5, Ryan experienced the exhilarating highs of playing sold-out arenas and being at the forefront of the band’s meteoric rise. However, behind the scenes, Ryan was headed for a serious mental break that would reshape his path. It was during a moment of crisis on the road that ignited a powerful change within him, propelling him from the music industry to a new path of self-discovery and healing.

After leaving Maroon 5, Ryan confronted isolation, addiction, alcoholism, and substance abuse. But through his journey, he found a new purpose and unearthed a profound passion for service, which became a driving force in his recovery. Today, Ryan is a therapist, speaker, and author, sharing his experiences and insights to help others facing similar struggles. His book, “Harder to Breathe: A Memoir of Making Maroon 5, Losing It All, & Finding Recovery,” is available on Amazon, offering a raw and honest account of his journey from rock bottom to rockstar and the transformative power of recovery. 

Visit his website: https://www.RyanDusick.com

Check out his book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1637742339?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details

Show Notes 

[01:14] Gary Menkes introduces today’s guest, Ryan Dusick, the founding drummer of Maroon Five.

[03:22] Ryan discusses the origins of his band, Carra’s Flowers, and how they eventually became Maroon Five after a failed record deal, rediscovering their sound and passion in the late nineties.

[06:22] Ryan reflects on Maroon 5’s journey to success, discussing their initial failure, the lessons they learned, and the hard work and resilience required to rebuild and achieve their breakthrough with their album “Songs About Jane.” 

[10:58] Ryan reflects on his time in his early twenties as a renaissance both in his personal life and in the life of the band, discussing how they had a rejuvenated spirit and a new blend of influences that led to the decision to change the band’s name.

[13:52] Ryan discusses the musical influences that shaped Maroon 5’s sound, including their love for artists like Michael Jackson, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, and Marvin Gaye, as well as their admiration for drummer Stewart Copeland of The Police and contemporary hip hop producers like Timberland and Pharrell Williams. 

[17:01] Ryan discusses the slow build of Maroon 5’s debut album, the years of hard work and touring before achieving success, and the exhaustion that came with it.

[20:49] Ryan Dusick discusses the pressures of being a perfectionist and overthinker, the toll constant touring took on his mental and physical health, and his struggles with imposter syndrome and self-doubt as the drummer of Maroon 5.

[27:45] Ryan opens up about his struggle with mental health during his time as the drummer for Maroon 5, expressing his inability to communicate his feelings and the breaking point he reached while on tour, leading to his decision to take a break from the band.

[30:52] Ryan discusses his struggle with physical and emotional pain, the reliance on alcohol as a coping mechanism, and the difficult decision to leave his band, which had been his identity for over a decade. 

[33:36] Ryan discusses the devastating impact of achieving success and then having to walk away from it, leading to a deep existential void and increased drinking as a means to fill that void.

[36:10] Ryan discusses the cycle of addiction and the parallel process of grief that he experienced, which took about a decade before he reached a point of acceptance and began his recovery from alcoholism. 

[39:53] Ryan shares his journey of realizing his addiction, hitting rock bottom, and finally seeking help at the Betty Ford Center.

[41:58] Ryan shares his experience of finding hope and purpose in recovery, as he realizes the impact he can have on others by offering support and being of service, leading him to embrace a new passion for mental health and psychology.

[45:02] Ryan shares his journey of recovery from addiction, agoraphobia, and panic disorder, and how volunteering and helping others led him to pursue a career as a therapist and author.

[47:54] Ryan discusses how following a sense of purpose and offering himself in a helpful way has opened up new horizons and filled him with confidence and self-esteem, as he strives to get out of self-obsession and help others, creating a healthy addiction to seeking a natural high. 

[52:49] Ryan discusses his book “Harder to Breathe,” which delves into his experiences with perfectionism, pressure, anxiety, and addiction, offering hope and recovery for anyone struggling, and shares his advocacy work in mental health as a therapist, life coach, and speaker.

[51:29] Gary Menkes expresses his gratitude for the relationships he has formed through podcasting and discusses his excitement about meeting Ryan Dusick.

For more incredible and inspiring stories of those who have overcome alcoholism and addiction, tune in to the next episodes of The Begin Again Podcast through:

About Gary Menkes

Gary Menkes was born and raised in Port Washington, NY and struggled with alcoholism since his early teens which took him to places he never wants to go again and which took a toll on his health, relationships and professional endeavors. However, Gary completely transformed his life when he was given the gift of sobriety on May 13, 2006. Determined to break free from the cycle of self-destruction, he embarked on a remarkable journey of recovery.

Today, Gary is an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous in New York, married to the love of his life and father of two amazing children of which he owes all to his sobriety. Gary is now launching his own podcast, The Begin Again Podcast.