Goo Goo Dolls Singer John Rzeznik Reflects On Getting Sober

By David Konow 10/15/18

John Rzeznik, the "Iris" singer has been sober since 2014. 

John Rzeznik is sober since 2014

The Goo Goo Dolls, the multi-platinum rock group best known for hits like "Iris" and "Name," are still going strong both on the road and off. And lead singer John Rzeznik is living the family life he had never previously imagined before he got sober.

Rzeznik recently reflected on his hard upbringing and journey to sobriety to Buffalo News. The singer grew up in Buffalo, New York with a “pretty serious drinker” for a father.

“I have no idea how he survived as long as he did.” Rzeznik recalled his relationship with his father as “distant… That’s the mark of an alcoholic—the distance. It’s a very lonely disease. It’s a disease of loneliness.”

As Rzeznik told the Press of Atlantic City in 2016, “I was wearing my father’s clothes. My father was a brutal alcoholic, just crazy. I thought that was my destiny as well. I finally got slapped in the head hard enough to go get help.”

Rzeznik lost both his parents in the early '80s, leaving him on his own when he was 16. He took refuge in music, but he was still trying to deal with serious mental and emotional demons.

“I had no idea what was going on inside my head,” he recalled. “I didn’t understand it, that what I was feeling was depression, and it was very, very hard.”

On November 16, 2014, Rzeznik had a meltdown in New York, and drank himself into a blackout. When he came to, he called his manager and said, “I’m not doing anything for the next three months. I’ve got to take care of this, because I’m going to die.”

Rzeznik then checked into rehab for three months, and adds, “I wish I could have stayed for six months. I went to a very serious place, where they don’t do yoga and massage. They concentrate on triangulating treatment, where it’s like therapy and 12 step and some spiritual work.”

Rzeznik now has a sobriety calendar on his phone, and as of September 10, he racked up 3.81 years, 45.79 months, 1,395 days, and 33,467 hours sober to his credit.

Rzeznik’s wife Melina confessed that she was thinking of leaving him before he went into rehab. Once he hit his one-year sober milestone, they started a family and had a daughter, Lili, who was born in December 2016.

Today the singer says, “I’m paraphrasing someone else, but kids turn you into the person that you should have been the whole time.” 

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.