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Lena Dunham is a writer, producer, and actor who struggled with an addiction to the anti-anxiety medication Klonopin. The Girls creator has recently been more outspoken regarding her addiction, celebrating two years sober on April 10.

Lena Dunham sober klonopin
Lena Dunham | Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Lena Dunham opens up about her addiction

Dunham first spoke about her addiction on Armchair ExpertDax Shepard’s podcast. She explained how Klonopin, a benzodiazepine used to treat panic disorders, made her feel like she could “operate in the world.” 

Dunham explained how she began taking anxiety medication in her childhood after her mom told her, “‘We’re going to get you on medication because there’s no reason to ever suffer.'”

Dunham later found herself using that excuse — that she shouldn’t “ever suffer” — to justify taking Klonopin whenever she was “having crazy anxiety” or “having to show up for things that she didn’t feel equipped to show up for.”

In the world of showbusiness, Dunham said taking anxiety medication is the norm. “Everyone’s got a f**king pill in their purse, a thing in their bag,” Dunham explained during her interview, adding: “I want to make sure I have it with me because I’m going to this event, take half of a Xanax. I have an early call time. I fly a lot.” Shepard conceded that the “benzo epidemic is equally as rampant [as the opioid one].” 

Dunham said she abused “benzos” for three years. Her past sexual traumas, fibromyalgia, and hysterectomy caused her to feel like she was no longer having panic attacks, but “living [a] panic attack.” She used Klonopin to cope.

Lena Dunham is two years sober 

At the time she spoke with Shepard, Dunham was six months sober. April 10 marked two years sober for Dunham, who took to Instagram to celebrate the milestone. She captioned a photo of herself with: 

Today I have 2 years clean and sober. It’s a miracle I can’t take for granted no matter how hard I try. Two years ago I didn’t think I needed to get sober. But a quiet voice inside me said, “lay it down for a moment” and then other, louder voices helped me keep it up. To those voices- you know who you are and thank you x infinity.

My heart pounds thinking of who I was two years ago. I was afraid to change but what actually happened was that I became myself again, a young and carefree self, a self who was clear in intention and bold in action and – most of all- free. We know, now more than ever, that we all need to be free.

When I first got sober, people often told me it was the best choice they’d ever made, the achievement of which they’re most proud. That seemed crazy- NOT doing something was the best thing they’d ever done??? But they were right- not using and removing secrecy and self harm from my repertoire, has given me a life beyond my wildest dreams. Not because it’s perfect, but because it is really and truly mine.

There is real help available for people who feel they are beyond hope. So many people are waiting for you across a shaky but time tested bridge. 

Now here is a picture of me smiling just because :)

Lena Dunham, Instagram

For Dunham, sobriety is about more than abstaining from axiety medication. In an interview with Cosmopolitan UK, Dunham said her sobriety “also means that [she] abstain[s] from negative relationships. It means [she has] taken a hiatus from dating, which has been amazing.” 

Like so many of us, Dunham is also practicing social distancing. She’s keeping herself busy by writing a serial novel for Vogue titled Verified Strangers.

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.