To many, Lena Dunham is an idol. The 32-year-old is a writer, actor, producer, author, and director, and has been nominated for numerous Emmys and won two Golden Globes. Dunham constantly encourages others, especially women, to embrace who they are and the skin they are in. She has been very open about her struggles with endometriosis, and acts as an ambassador for the condition. Dunham even underwent a total hysterectomy to end the chronic pain she had been dealing with for years on end.
But in October, the Girls star revealed she had been dealing with another illness: drug addiction. While on Dax Shepard's podcast Armchair Expert, Dunham opened up about her abuse of Klonopin, an anti-anxiety medication.
“My particular passion was Klonopin,” Dunham said. “I was having crazy anxiety and having to show up for things that I didn’t feel equipped to show up for. But I know I need to do it, and when I take a Klonopin, I can do it. If I look back, there were a solid three years where I was, to put it lightly, misusing benzos, even though it was all quote-unquote doctor prescribed."
Dunham also said some of her public-relations mishaps could be linked to her addiction, although she admitted she was “never a drinker, never a pot smoker, I never did quote-unquote recreational drugs."
“All my senses weren’t intact and maybe I wasn’t being as sensitive or self-aware as I could have been,” she said. “I mean, there were plenty of times I did things people didn’t like where I was stone-cold, anxiety-ridden sober, but I think my judgment was generally impaired by my obsessive desire to escape my own pain.”
Now, Dunham is one year sober, and she wrote an emotional Instagram post about her journey.
Today I’m in the miraculous position of being one year sober. I’ve done a lot of cool things in this life, but none has brought me the peace, joy and lasting connections that being part of a sober fellowship has (not even all girls camp. Sorry, Bunk Kingfisher.)
Life is full of problems, but the cool thing about this one is that there is a solution: in every city, in many countries, you can find a group of people who are working hard to live sober, accountable lives and want to support you on your quest to do the same. I didn’t know I had an issue with drugs for a long time: because they were doctor prescribed, because I was outwardly successful and not a wild in da club party chick.
But wouldn’t you say that hurting people you love is an issue? Wouldn’t you say feeling lost and lonely much of the time is an issue? Wouldn’t you say wearing shorts to a movie premiere *is* an issue? Sobriety hasn’t fixed my world. Life is still challenging- that’s the nature of the game. But every day I am surprised by the richness and depth of, well, reality.
I don’t need to escape this beautiful carnival. Instead, I’m on the ride. Please remember you are never too far gone, too broken or too unique. There are people in plain sight waiting to help you. Let’s do this.
I may not always agree with Dunham, but I respect her openness when it comes to her health and addiction struggles. Addiction is something that has affected my family personally, and I know how hard that stigma can be to shake.