Benjamin Lerner

Benjamin Lerner

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LONDONDERRY — The Collaborative’s Refuse to Use program will host recovery advocate Benjamin Lerner for a virtual evening of recovery and music at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 25.

Lerner is also a composer, writer and radio host, and he 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. Use the website, to register.

Lerner, the great-grandson of Irving Berlin, started his musical career as a classical piano prodigy, but by his early 20s, he was a full-blown addict.

Sober since June 13, 2016, he journals his journey in addiction and sobriety in his piano-raps, which combine classical piano and rap.

His debut album, “Clean,” was released in February 2020. He writes a weekly column that appears in The Vermont News Guide. He is the host of Clean Jams on WEQX, which celebrates rap, hip-hop and recovery every at 11 p.m. Thursdays.

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, 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,” Lerner said. “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.

“We are so grateful to our community partners, caring adults and youth for their investment in the program this year,” said Refuse to Use program manager, Natalie Philpot. “It has been amazing to see such investment in the health and well-being of our community.”

This final series of Refuse to Use programming will focus on the skill of resilience.

For more information, email

For more about Lerner and his music and writing, go to


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