Collaborative hosts pianist, recovered addict Benjamin Lerner

The Londonderry-based Collaborative’s Refuse to Use program is offering a virtual evening of recovery and music beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25 with guest artist composer, writer, radio host and recovery advocate Benjamin Lerner.

Benjamin Lerner. Photo by Bryce Boyer

Lerner, who lives in Vermont, will share his personal experience and struggles with addiction – as well as his inspiring story of resilience and hope – in both words and music.

This virtual event will take place via Zoom and is open to the public. Registration is available by clicking here.

Benjamin Lerner, the great-grandson of composer Irving Berlin who wrote God Bless America and White Christmas, started his musical career as a classical piano prodigy, but by his early 20s, he was a full-blown addict. Now sober since June 13, 2016, he journals his journey in addiction and sobriety in his all new piano-raps, which combine classical piano and rap. His debut album, CLEAN, was released in February 2020 and his weekly column, also entitled CLEAN, appears in The Vermont News Guide. He is the host of CLEAN Jams on WEQX, which celebrates rap, hip-hop & recovery every Thursday night at 11 p.m. Lerner credits his continued success in recovery to his ability to express his emotions relating to his struggle through word and song.

“When I first went to rehab,” Lerner admits, “I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to make music anymore, because I made music about doing drugs for so long, I didn’t know if I’d be able to do it without getting high. It took getting clean for me to realize that expression and creativity are the drugs I’ve been searching for all along.”

During the last unprecedented year, the Refuse to Use program has focused on building resilience and community through events that educate our youth on the harmful effects of substance misuse, while also cultivating the skills-based assets necessary to help make healthy decisions.

This final series of Refuse to Use programming will focus on the skill of resilience. We ask the wider community to enjoy this virtual live event featuring Benjamin Lerner and to use it as an opportunity to connect with others in their lives. This event is being presented with partnership from Old Mill Road Media. Email questions program manager Natalie Philpot at

The Collaborative serves Bennington County, Western Windham and Southern Windsor counties. To learn more about The Collaborative contact it at or 802-824-4200.

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