Lena Dunham and Celeb Friends Unite for Friendly House
Friendly House certainly has some high profile friends. Then again, when you’ve been successfully operating in Los Angeles for nearly 70 years, you’d better have some high profile friends. This year, those friends joined Lena Dunham as she emceed a fundraiser for the recovery center. The cause couldn’t have been more worthy.
Neither could the gathering. The friends of Friendly House are indeed as worthy as the cause. That added a nice symbiosis to the affair. It also pretty much ensured the fundraiser raised all the necessary funds. After all, Friendly House has been a good friend to the Hollywood community since 1951.
So it’s little wonder the likes of David Lynch, Katey Sagal, Russell Brand, Amber Valletta, Margaret Cho and William Shatner would all stepped up to help out. Nor is it much wonder writer/star Lena Dunham readily agreed to emcee.
Make that virtual emcee. Yes, as you probably already suspect, this year’s Friendly House gala was strictly online. But that didn’t diminish the caliber of the proceedings, let alone its reason for being.
As The Hollywood Reporter’s Chris Gardner so expertly reported, “the showing [was just] the latest in numerous collaborations between Dunham and Friendly House.” Indeed, “she was honored at the recovery center’s 2019 gala.” Dunham also once opened her home for an intimate, star-studded afternoon fundraiser. Which friends showed up then? Why none other than Brad Pitt, Jenji Kohan and Spike Jonze. Oh yeah, Sagal swung by that time too. (She’s on the FH Board of Directors.) So did scores of other Hollywood insiders. Then again, like we said, what else would you expect from such a longtime friend of Hollywood.
Or from such a sober star. Gardner said Dunham isn’t just “a champion of Friendly House,” but she’s “also one of the town’s newest and most outspoken proponents of recovery.” In fact, she has been ever since revealing a problem with pills back in 2018.
Applause here please.
Hollywood Reporter Interviews Lena Dunham
Chris Gardner asked Lena Dunham why she agreed to help out just one year after being honored. And Dunham replied with her characteristic candor.
“Friendly House is more than just a cause for me,” said Dunham. “They’re family. Monica Phillips, the executive director, is a huge part of my sober tribe. When she let me know they were going to find a new way to make the gala happen I was thrilled to have a role.”
And like all of sobriety’s most successful practitioners, Dunham’s got more than a little altruism in her — not to mention humility.
“Being involved with Friendly House is a way for me to give back some of the gifts I’ve received in my sobriety,” she told Gardner. It’s also a way for me “to stay educated about the latest tools and concepts in keeping women sober and therefore keeping communities healthy and stigma-free.”
Gardner went on to quiz Dunham on what it takes to put together such a program, especially during a pandemic. He also asked her about how and why she believes Friendly House is still around.
“It feels like this is a perfect time for honesty and being utterly earnest,” said Dunham, addressing current state of the world. “Luckily, those are my two go-to modes. Snark and blinding wit can be fun,” she added. “But who has time at the moment?”
As for the why behind the recovery center’s longevity and success, Dunham says it’s largely because “Friendly House uses many modalities — talk therapy, transcendental meditation, creative arts, more classic 12-step — to help women find a center of peace without drugs and alcohol.”
“They’re [also] always on the lookout for new ways of bringing calm and hope to their patients,” she added. “They remain open to every aspect of healing. And I really believe we don’t heal without a huge arsenal of tools. I sure didn’t.”
It was when Gardner directly asked Dunham about her sobriety when the go-to gal was perhaps most candid.
“Becoming sober is quite simply the best choice I’ve ever made for myself,” she told him. “It has given me a level of steady focus and presence of mind that I never had — even before I knew what drugs and alcohol were.”
Dunham shared more, of course. Much more. Things even got “magical.” If you’d like to find out how, just head on over and read the entire exchange at The Hollywood Reporter.
In Praise of Friendly House
Healing Properties applauds Friendly House on its incredible longevity, as well as its tremendous success. And we wish the treatment center and sober home many, many more years of both. It’s great to see a community rally around such a vital enterprise. It’s also great to see such a vital enterprise provide so much help to its community. The world needs many more such instances of each. And don’t forget if you or someone you know and love is having difficulties with any kind of substance abuse, please seek help
(Lena Dunham at Tribeca Film Festival courtesy Wikicommons with gratitude.)