Benjamin Lerner: Clean

Read more of this excerpt from Vermont Magazine.

Benjamin Lerner is intelligent, articulate, talented, handsome, hard-working, ambitious, and well-pedigreed. But what defines him as “a star” is … his authenticity. Now sober 3 years (his sobriety date is June 13, 2016), Benjamin is set to take the world by storm when his debut album of his all-original “piano-raps” – developed here in Vermont – is released later this year.

Benjamin, both a rapper and trained classical pianist, has created new piano compositions based on classical music theory – and he raps against them, journaling his life of addiction and sobriety. Throughout, his thoughts are genuine. The songs are powerful, raw, and poignant.

He is human.

Benjamin hopes that by sharing his story, others struggling with addiction, will find hope and help. He feels it is never too late to find one’s true-self. But Benjamin is the first to admit that it took him a long time to find his true-self; his true voice. “Growing up, I had two parents who really cared about words and music. They were both journalists. And my mom was a musician. Other kids, depending on the nature of their parents – and their parents’ parenting style – get pushed in different ways. My parents didn’t really care what I did, so much as they cared that I was well-informed, presented myself well, and was intellectually curious. Especially my father. He would feed me high-level mathematical problems (like, when I was 5), three-digit multiplication tables. And when I was 8, 9, 10, he’d give me American and British classics to read, so that I developed more quickly than my peers. I didn’t have the pressure to get a 4.0 GPA, but in some ways, it was more intense, because he had me participating in discussions with 60 year old baby boomers who went to Harvard about the nature of geopolitics and different ethical questions. So, I was exposed to concepts that not many other people at my age would have dealt with. I was hungry for approval and attention. I basically had to validate myself from the reaction of the people around me. And I learned how to chameleon myself in these situations and read people and just perform and play a variety of different roles.”

Read more of this excerpt from Vermont Magazine.

Benjamin Lerner is a recovering addict, composer, writer, and musician who has been sober since June 13th, 2016.
In his weekly column, Clean, he shares his personal journey – and lessons he has learned from his life in recovery.

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