Lena Dunham Celebrates Birthday With Recovery House Fundraiser

By Kelly Burch 05/16/19

Dunham also took to Instagram to urge her followers to donate toward an LA-based recovery home for women. 

Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham—who opened up about her struggles with addiction this year—hosted a birthday party fundraiser for The Friendly House, a recovery home for women struggling with substance use disorder.

“Today, rather than presents, I’d love for you to donate to Friendly House, which is dedicated to helping women navigate the journey through addiction to recovery. It’s a journey I know first hand can only be attempted with love and support, which is why I have started a scholarship fund for women who are determined to recover but don’t have the financial means to begin,” Dunham wrote on Instagram.  

She continued, “It brings me such joy to think of how together we can directly affect so many women who have forgotten that they matter.”

Dunham said that in the past she has shied away from celebrating her birthday, but after achieving one year of sobriety in April she was ready to be in the spotlight. 

“I may own a birthday bitch hat, but IRL I’m no big birthday bitch. For someone who loves both attention and presents, I’ve sure cancelled a lotta bday parties at the last minute,” she wrote. “I used to think there was something a bit unseemly about an adult leaning into their birthday, until I realized I was actually just jealous of the confidence and self-love it takes to say ‘it’s my day, people!’ I often felt I was making up for some original sin and that the nicest thing I could do for others on my birthday was make myself as unobtrusive as possible (it never worked and I usually either barfed or cried.)”

She went on, “But this year is different. This year I’m... wait for it... happy. And so grateful for where I am, who I am, and everyone who has helped me on my journey to health & sobriety. 32 was good to me, and for 33 I wanted to say a big old thank you.”

Dunham spoke about her addiction to anxiety medications on Dax Shepard’s podcast Armchair Expert in November. 

"It stopped being, 'I take one when I fly,' and it started being like, 'I take one when I’m awake,’" she said. She realized that her medications were no longer helping her, and that she had become dependent on them. 

"I still feel like my brain is recalibrating itself to experience anxiety,” she said at the time. "I just feel, literally, on my knees grateful every day." 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.