Demi Lovato Renounces “California Sober” Approach in Favor of Full Sobriety

Demi Lovato Renounces “California Sober” Approach in Favor of Full Sobriety
Addiction December 16, 2021
Author: Ilana Jael

After making headlines with their unorthodox “California sober” approach to recovery, the non-binary actor and singer Demi Lovato has changed their tune. Previously, Lovato had referred to themself as “California sober” despite admitting to using alcohol and marijuana in moderation while swearing off the more dangerous opioid drugs they nearly died of an overdose of in 2018. 

However, in a recent Instagram story, the star reportedly announced that “sober sober is the only way to be” and that they “no longer support” their former California sober lifestyle. 

Though Lovato has not gone into detail about the reasons behind the change, it can only be assumed that they were struggling to control their use of the “lesser” substances they still used. 

Given the fact-based criticism that Lovato faced by experts for their decision to be California sober this development is not entirely unexpected.  As can be seen in the 2018 docu-series about the singer’s life, Dancing With The Devil, which went into detail about the star’s harrowing battle with addiction, many of their friends and colleagues were worried that they were putting themselves at risk with their current strategy, including fellow celebrity in recovery Elton John. 

While alcohol is a legal drug and marijuana may be one depending on where in the United States one lives, that does not make those drugs any less addictive, or make them any less potentially harmful to someone who has already demonstrated their vulnerability.   

People who have been dependent on any substances have been found to have a higher risk of developing an addiction to another, and people who use any substance while in recovery have been shown to have a higher risk of relapse, as relying on any substance rather than on healthier coping mechanisms and resolving any underlying mental issues seems to leave the door open for dependency. 

While we are happy to hear that Lovato is now embracing a safer lifestyle, their turnabout can also be taken as a lesson in not taking what anyone else has to say about recovery personally, whether that be a uninformed far-off celebrity or a closer friend or loved one. 

Even if friends do not understand why you can’t have “just one drink” or “just a little weed,” only you know what is right for you, and there’s far more evidence in favor of abstinence as the safest way to live a lasting “sober” lifestyle than of people who have successfully tried to mix and match. 

Lovato was also criticized for their decision to speak publicly about their “California sobriety” as a viable alternative to full abstinence, as experts worried that their status as a role model for others could negatively impact others even as they made clear that their approach was not appropriate for all. 

That the details and parameters of one’s recovery should be best kept to themselves is the conclusion that Lovato has come to as well, stating: 

“The only criticism I need is from my treatment team, and if what we’re doing right now is working for me, then I’m gonna keep it between me and them.”

Lovato’s journey also attests to the fact that recovery is not always a linear process but one of continual growth, learning, and navigating challenges as they arise. 

As Lovato sings in California Sober, the song named after their recently renounced approach, committing to recovery “doesn’t have to mean the growin’ part is over.” 

 Though relapses, slips, and setbacks might certainly occur in the slow process of moving from addiction to recovery, there is always a chance to get back on the road to health, whatever health looks like for you. 

If you or someone you love is currently struggling with addiction, feel free to call Reco Institute anytime at 561-665-5925. Our associated intensive treatment program can help you develop the coping skills you need to embrace sobriety, while our sober living options will help you find the community that you need to thrive in recovery. It’s time you got back to a brighter future.

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