Lauren Alaina was reluctant to be completely honest. Like anyone, she had secrets of a personal nature she hoped nobody would ever know. But with the release of her current album, “Road Less Traveled,” Lauren made the choice to not only write and sing about some of those secrets — like her father’s battle with alcohol — but also come clean about her own demons.

The young singer-songwriter has been speaking openly in recent months about her struggle with bulimia, and how it nearly destroyed her voice. Prior to that, she told “People” in February, her illness had been her “deepest, darkest secret” that even her own father was unaware of.

Now, Lauren says she’s seeing how her honesty is helping others.

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“One of the most memorable moments I’ve ever had with a fan was with this little girl who came up to me about my song, ‘Same Day, Different Bottle,’ which is about my dad’s alcoholism,” Lauren told reporters during CMA Music Festival in Nashville June 8. “She was 12 or 13 [years old], probably, and she said that was her favorite song that I’ve ever done. I remember thinking, ‘She’s 12 or 13, it’s a very serious song.’ I’m thinking, ‘It’s not ‘Nest Boyfriend’ or something like that?’” Then the girl’s grandmother explained that the child’s mother is an alcoholic.

“It was just this crazy moment for me that really encouraged me to be honest,” Lauren continued. “We’re all doing the best we can. We all have problems and we all have to work through things. I just do those things in front of more people. I, at first, didn’t know how to handle that and it was super scary for me. But now I think it’s a huge blessing because I won’t handle everything perfectly, but hopefully, I handle it well enough that I can talk about it and joke about it and cry about it and be honest about it and people will respect that in some way.”

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“I have a lot of girls that come up to me and tell me that they’re overcoming eating disorders,” she continued. “Things like that make me glad that I spoke out about it. I was so scared to put this album out because it is the good, the bad and the ugly of Lauren Alaina.”

In the end, though, she’s happily found, “It’s actually been the most rewarding process I’ve ever been a part of.”

Phyllis Stark is a Nashville-based entertainment journalist who has been reporting extensively on country music (and loving every moment of it) for more than two decades.
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