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Rachael Lander

Rachael Lander is a session musician and a recovering alcoholic. She began playing the cello at the age of 8 and as a teenager was performing regularly as a soloist and as a part of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. At 18 she was awarded scholarships to all the major UK conservatoires but was becoming increasingly debilitated with performance anxiety and panic attacks that made performing extremely difficult.

By the age of twenty she drank and used prescription drugs every time she performed and by the time she graduated from music college Rachael was in the grip of full blown addiction and stopped performing in the hope she’d be able to regain control of her drinking.

During this time she was employed as a waitress and waited for the anxiety and self destructive behaviours to lift as the cello remained untouched. Instead her alcoholism progressed and destroyed her health, her sanity and most of her relationships.

After a gruelling detox she saw a therapist who quickly diagnosed alcoholism and with the help of a twelve step fellowship and the support of her family, she began her journey of recovery. After six months or so she began performing again without her crutches of alcohol and drugs and now eight years later she is performing full time with the likes of George Michael, Alt J, London Grammar and most recently with the E.L.O at the Royal Albert Hall.

After a few years in recovery she married another recovering alcoholic and they now live in South East London with their one year old son. Rachael has taken part in two prime time documentaries about alcoholism in an attempt to reduce the stigma of alcoholism and performance anxiety within the classical music profession.

She has also written pieces about alcoholism and performance anxiety for broadsheet newspapers and has contributed to several TV and radio shows addressing the disease of addiction. She receives large volumes of correspondence from fellow performers who are suffering in silence, which is why she is so passionate that the music industry is in dire need of an organisation like Music Support.

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