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Benjamin Lerner on Alcohol, Depression and Rediscovering Music

The pianist, composer, rapper, radio host and All Sober all-star says even "picking up the phone" can make all the difference, in this Insider interview

Benjamin Lerner on Alcohol, Depression and Rediscovering Music

Benjamin Lerner is a classically trained pianist and a rapper, a former IV drug user and proud recovery advocate. Sober since 2016, he has written intimate, complex songs about pain, anger, fear, sickness, uncertainty, hope, pride and serenity—the full spectrum of his experiences during addiction, in recovery and in his pursuit of mental well-being.

All Sober readers may know Lerner from his lyrical stylings on "Scars" and "Recovery Is Possible," but he recently opened up about his alcohol use disorder, his sobriety journey and how he manages mental health challenges like depression and Asperger's syndrome in recovery, in an interview with Insider.

When Benjamin Lerner—a writer, radio host and recovery advocate with All Sober—had his first beer at age 13, he noticed it dulled his fears, insecurities and inhibitions.

Lerner has Asperger's syndrome, which he says makes it difficult for him to connect with others.

"I used alcohol to cope with feelings of isolation and sadness," he says.

Lerner developed an alcohol addiction that continued to escalate throughout his teens and early 20s. He participated in several treatment programs at his family's urging, but none of them helped. Eventually, at age 24, he decided to get sober for good.

"I couldn't justify running from my depression and anxiety anymore," he says.

Lerner stopped drinking while attending an inpatient program in June 2016. Although he continued to experience depression, he says connecting with other people in recovery helped fuel his motivation to stick with sobriety.

He also began channeling his emotions into writing music—a passion he lost sight of during his addiction—and even released an album about his personal experiences called "Clean."

"Today, I manage my depression by picking up the phone and calling people in my recovery fellowship to ask for help or seeking advice on the All Sober message boards. Being open and honest about my addiction and sobriety is a vital part of my recovery," he says.

Read the full article at Insider: "5 People Share How Alcohol Worsened Their Depression—And How Sobriety Helped Improve Their Mental Health."

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