Lena Dunham opens up about drug addiction: ‘Pills I thought dulled my pain actually created it’

‘When I was dropped off at rehab, I thought it was the end of my life,’ says Dunham

Lena Dunham attends the Friendly House 30th annual awards luncheon on 26 October, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

Lena Dunham attends the Friendly House 30th annual awards luncheon on 26 October, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. ( Vince Bucci/Getty Images for Friendly House )

Lena Dunham has opened up about her prescription drugs addiction and her newfound sobriety.

The actor was named Woman of the Year by Friendly House, an addiction treatment facility for women in Los Angeles.

“I didn’t think that I was a drug addict,” Dunham, who has previously said she used to misuse prescription medication, said while accepting the honour at a luncheon this weekend, according to Variety.

Speaking in more detail about her former struggle around drugs, she added that “pills that I thought dulled my pain actually created it”.

Dunham, who has been sober for 18 months, first disclosed her history of drug abuse last year in a podcast with Dax Shepard.    

At that time, she told the actor she had “misused [benzodiazepines]” for three years, adding: “Nobody I know who are prescribed these medications is told, ‘By the way, when you try and get off this, it’s going to be like the most hellacious acid trip you’ve ever had where you’re f****** clutching the walls and the hair is blowing off your head and you can’t believe you found yourself in this situation.”

During this weekend’s event, Dunham explained how media portrayals had skewed her perception of what addiction can look like.

“I didn’t think that I was a drug addict,” she said, deadpanning: “I thought drug addicts were depraved lunatics who wandered the streets, demanding crack from innocent children and flaunting their open wounds in public parks.

“And I was a successful, capable celebrity who wandered red carpets demanding attention and flaunting her open boobs on TV. It’s totally different.”Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

The actor spoke candidly of her path to recovery, explaining: “When I was dropped off at rehab, I thought it was the end of my life.

“Seemingly overnight, I had lost almost all of what I hold dear: My relationships, my body and my career were in relative shambles.”

She made it clear that she’s now grateful for her sobriety, adding that “a woman who has overcome an addiction can do f****** anything”.

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