Demi Lovato on hitting rock bottom, getting sober after many interventions


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Demi Lovato has spoken often about her period of drug abuse, about how much sober time she has (five years!) and about the fact that she used to stay in a sober living house with other people in recovery. She may sound like a broken record when she’s talking about that, and about her mental health issues, but these are causes close to her and she champions them. She’s helped a lot of people by being open about it. In 2011, she claimed that she went to rehab after she had a “nervous breakdown” and that her parents and manager pulled her aside and staged an intervention. However that doesn’t coincide with her sobriety date of March, 2012, so she must have gone out again afterwards. I don’t think she’s ever spoken about the event that led her to finally get sober, her own “rock bottom” as they put it in AA, so that’s why her upcoming interview with Jonathan Ross is interesting to me. She said that she got sober after everyone close to her stopped trying to intervene and told her they were just going to leave her to it. They also cut her off from her sister, who was just 10 at the time. It sounds like tough love and like she must have realized she was pissing her life away.

The 25-year-old singer opened up about about her dark days during an appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show airing Saturday — confessing that while her family and friends had staged a few interventions over the years, they didn’t have an impact until they finally told the star they were abandoning her.

“The final one, everyone was like, ‘We are no longer going to leave, we are leaving,’ ” Lovato recalled. “That was the moment when I thought, ‘Okay, I really need to get help and get sober.’ This time I knew… I had hit rock bottom and I just needed to do this for myself.”

Lovato went on to explain that her parents had gone so far as to ban the former Disney Channel star from seeing her little sister Madison De La Garza, now 15.

“I knew that I had a lot of life ahead of me but one of the main reasons of getting sober was so that I could be around my little sister because my mom and dad [said I couldn’t be around her] if I was doing stuff.”

That tough love paid off, and now Lovato is hoping her experiences helps others going through similar battles.

“I went through some tough times and went to treatment for some struggles that I had and now I’ve come out the other side,” the “Sorry Not Sorry” singer said. “I use my stories to help others and inspire them to get the help they need.”

“I had family and really close friends and my manager, they all were by my side through everything,” she continued. “I wouldn’t be here without them. My fans too, I feel they gave me a reason to live and I’m forever grateful.”

Earlier this month, Lovoto admitted that her sobriety is something that she works on “every single day” while receiving the Spirit of Sobriety award at the annual Brent Shapiro Foundation for Drug Prevention Summer Spectacular in Beverly Hills.

“Every day is a battle,” she said. “You just have to take it one day at a time, some days are easier than others and some days you forget about drinking and using, but for me, I work on my physical health, which is important, but my mental health as well.”

“I see a therapist twice a week,” she added about her continued recovery. “I make sure I stay on my medications. I go to AA meetings. I do what I can physically in the gym. I make it a priority.”

[From People]

That’s powerful and it must have taken her a lot to talk about that, as she’s so honest about everything else she’s been through. My sobriety story (I have 15 months sober) isn’t as dramatic as all that. I didn’t get a DUI, I didn’t have friends and family cutting me off or staging interventions, but I did wake up every day spending those first few moments wondering how terrible I was going to feel. My son started asking me to drink less because he could tell I was drunk every night. My work was suffering and I recognized how awful I felt, how dramatic my moods were and how often I tried to moderate my drinking and just could not. Sobriety is a gift and I would recommend abstinence to anyone who has trouble controlling their drinking. (Check out SmartRecovery and/or local AA meetings.) Speaking of AA, Demi did break the 11th tradition by not maintaining her anonymity as an AA member. However I don’t think it’s that’s big of a deal as she simply said she goes to meetings. She’s not holding herself up as a representative of AA, which I think that tradition is meant to guard against.

Demi Lovato leaves her hotel in New York

Demi Lovato seen leaving BBC Radio 1 studios

Photos credit: WENN, Instagram/Demi Lovato

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39 Responses to “Demi Lovato on hitting rock bottom, getting sober after many interventions”

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  1. Babs says:

    I am sober since 18 months, alcohol and weed. I was smoking heavily since 10 years. It was tough but man I feel so free now (and rich lol). It really is worth it. Kudos to her for talking about it, you can be a role model that way, it’s so much better than the goody-two-shoes celeb fakeness.

  2. Sara says:

    I come from a long line of alcoholics and drug addicts from both sides of my family. I have seen some of my family members be able to enjoy a glass of wine once in a while, others fall to crippling addiction, still more between these two poles.

    I’ll just say this: be kind to yourselves. Try every day, but don’t throw away the good days because of a bad day. It’s never too late to change our relationship to substances, ourselves or the people around us. And finally: some people will feel judged and hurt when you stop using. That’s life. It’s not about you though. It’s about them.

  3. Enough Already says:

    So proud of you, CB!

    I’m in a weird situation because my husband and I don’t agree on how much drinking is too much or just what is functioning alcoholism. I hate it so much when he drinks but it’s hard to get my point across because he is a successful PhD. That plus he says I have an unrealistic yardstick because I grew up as a religious conservative and he’s from a family of wine enthusiasts. Ugh.

    • Embee says:

      You know what works for you, and don’t try to figure it out for him. If you struggle being around him while he drinks that’s certainly a relationship issue. But don’t be thrown off by the education. I earned my JD and worked to the top of my field while I was drinking too much.

    • msw says:

      I work as a therapist – one thing that helps is demonstrating a very objective approach. The CDC website has a lot of data on healthy alcohol use. When presented in a non-judgmental kind of way – not a “you should cut back because you drink too much,” ask “do you mind if I share some information with you about what I learned about alcohol use?” and with his permission, share the information. The CDC has guidelines for upper limits of alcohol use, both in a single drinking session and over the course of a week. It also has information about about what health risks people have when they exceed those guidelines. Approaching it from a totally neutral place (data) is usually much more effective than addressing it from an emotional place. Data is not subjective – hopefully as a phD he will understand that part!

      Alcoholism and drug addiction have no boundaries resulting from social status, education level, economic status, etc. Good luck to you and I hope he makes the connection soon.

    • jwoolman says:

      People often don’t realize how much they change under the influence of alcohol in particular, since it’s such a part of the culture. When you’re cold sober (like me) rather than drinking along, you really notice it and it definitely is disturbing.

      If he visibly changes, taking a video and playing it back when he’s sober might be enlightening.

  4. magnoliarose says:

    Congratulations CB!
    I admire people who can break the cycle and have the strength to keep doing it. It must have felt terrible to have your child tell you to drink less and not be able to at the time. Ouch. But your child sees you well and healthy, and that is huge.

    Demi has always seemed like her heart was in the right place, but her mental illness problems and addictions were dragging her down. She seems lost sometimes, and I wonder if it isn’t her periods of depression. Lately, I have noticed more people in my life who have a mental illness are struggling more now than I have ever seen them. From bipolar to anxiety and depression.

  5. Nicole says:

    Congrats on your sobriety!
    Demi never talked about the incident much because it was all over the news. They forced her into rehab after they cancelled the Camp Rock tour (I’m in her age bracket so I remember following this). I also remember the 17 interview she gave after getting out and how Selena Gomez and Kim K (yep) wrote her letters while she was there. She also talked about being away from her sister was the ultimatum that ultimately made her stay.
    None of this is new but I like that she continues to talk about this. Sobriety isn’t over after you get clean. Just like mental health struggles are forever.
    Also her new album is pretty dang good. She’s got pipes for days.

    • Franny Days says:

      Didn’t she also punch a girl in the face?

      • Enough Already says:

        I’m sorry for presuming you have an angle here but what does that have to do with anything?

      • Bridget says:

        That was the incident they’re referencing.

      • Franny Days says:

        @ Enough Already

        Not sure is you were replying to me but definitely don’t have an agenda. I was just reflecting on how everything happened. I think she was dating Joe and then they broke up and she kind of spiraled from there. I remember after the punching incident that was when she was diagnosed. I’m very happy she has recovered and sought treatment. She had to get to her lowest low and then was able to rise from there.

      • Nicole says:

        That’s the incident I was talking about. It lead to the tour being cancelled and everyone found out that she was doing drugs and cutting on tour. It was definitely a low for her but it pushed her into treatment.
        I don’t think you meant anything by the question

      • jwoolman says:

        Yes, Demi slugged a backup dancer, apparently after the girl said something about her cocaine use. That’s what got her kicked off the tour, and her parents put her into rehab (allegedly for everything but drug use, of course… She claimed anorexia and bullying, but I suspect it was really just the drugs that were the cause of any anorexia and evidence points to her being the bully, not the other way around). She had gotten scarey thin well before that point. She had to quit her tv show, which required complete revamping of it since she was the title character. The new format didn’t quite work even though the other kids were mostly quite talented (and stronger actors than Demi, actually).

        She’s certainly had a rough road with the addictions, but be aware that she and the truth are not tight. So it’s hard to tell what parts of her narrative are true and what are not.

        But she really does have quite a voice and did even when very young. No magic microphone and auto tuning required for her.

  6. Lizzie says:

    CONGRATS CB! i greatly admire you and others in recovery!

  7. Capepopsie says:

    Congratulations CB and Thank you for sharing!
    That takes a lot of courage! ❤️

  8. Ang says:

    Almost four years sober here and I still have drinking dreams all the time, even last night. It’s like an alternate reality where I’m still drinking and then I wake up relieved every time. Best thing I’ve ever done for myself and my loved ones.

  9. Mischa says:

    This is somewhat how my father, after having spent my whole life and more drunk, finally got sober; when i told him i was leaving and didnt want to be involved with him anymore. Now hes been sober two years (after 30 years alcoholic!)

  10. msw says:

    Demi and CB, and all the other readers struggling with sobriety. Be well

  11. Veronica says:

    If this highlights nothing else, it’s the importance of people having access to the medical care required for mental health and rehab. Those services aren’t cheap, but they can literally turn a person’s life around. If you lack the kind of money and support system that Demi has, sobriety is a major harder uphill battle.

  12. samipup says:

    Congratulations CB and to all of you folks who are friends I just haven’t met yet! I just celebrated 24 years. One day at a time. It helped me to notice the joy and goodness of life and of people.Thanks to friends and people I’ll never meet again, I’m here and sober today. People can be very caring and helpful to you, when you acknowledge you need the help. These times are trying though. I have to not read the news and never FB posts about T-rump and the Cult 45’s . I feel angry and helpless so, I choose wellness instead.

    • Erica_V says:

      Congratulations to you & to CB and all the B*tchers who made this decision!!

      Hugs & high fives all around

  13. Michelle says:

    Major thumbs up to CB, Demi, and anyone else out there who have struggled and have gotten help. There are so many folks out there who think they can handle it and don’t need help.

  14. Amber says:

    Amazing CB! Hugs for everyone here.

  15. themummy says:

    This is something I think about more and more of late. I’ve started a new career and for the last year or so I have consistently had 2 glasses of wine a night (usually with dinner). I never drink to get drunk, almost never even get a buzz, but it is an almost nightly thing. It doesn’t interfere with my work or my life at all and I’m healthy as a horse, but I do wonder more and more about it. On one hand, I feel like it’s just gotten to be part of my wind-down ritual, much like my morning coffee is my morning ritual. I know I don’t drink excessively or binge drink, but almost every evening I’m pouring that glass of wine. I don’t at all feel like I couldn’t stop (and sometimes do for a week or two), but I just enjoy my evening routine. The fact that it’s on my mind, though…. Something I probably need to think about.

    • raincoaster says:

      I read a truly great book on women and alcohol, called Drinking: A Love Story. In it the author tells the story of a chef friend of hers. It’s natural for a chef to think about and enjoy wine, right? But the chef wondered if she was focusing on it a little TOO much, so she invented what she called The Asparagus Test. Try it and see what you can learn from it.

      Here’s how it worked: Every time she thought about wine, she’d replace it with asparagus. Wake up, hit the alarm, think “I can’t wait till I can have a great big plate of asparagus tonight!” Go have a shower and, while shampooing, think “God, what kind of asparagus will I have tonight? Will I have it chilled? How will I serve it.” On the way to work, think, “Oh man, the sound the asparagus makes hitting the plate, it’s what I live for” and so on and so on.

      If you replace alcohol with asparagus in your daily thoughts, at the end of the day would someone think you sounded obsessed with asparagus? What does that tell you, not about your consumption, but about your focus on alcohol?

      • themummy says:

        That’s some good perspective there. Thank you for that. By the asparagus test, I think I’m fine. I never think about how I will have wine, when I can have it, what kind I’ll have, etc. I actually rarely think about it at all. I just start cooking dinner and enjoy a glass of wine while I cook and usually another glass when I eat. I think the most asparagus-y I’d be with it is, “Hmmm…am I too tired to stop off for some asparagus to have with dinner on the way home?” (But it was bothering me enough after I typed my original post that I decided on sparkling water with dinner tonight instead of wine.) Thanks for typing all of that.

  16. Cacec04 says:

    Anonymity doesn’t mean you can’t say that you attend AA, it means more that you understand the places the meetings are held are sacred and you also need to make it a safe environment for newcomers. If no one talks about the fact that they got help through AA then people who need the help will not seek it. Too many people misunderstand anonymity and the myths that surround it.

  17. Erica_V says:

    I love how much she talks about it. it’s honest in a way that celebrities just aren’t usually.


    Replied directly to a few but will say here again : congratulations to CB and all the B*tchers who have struggled and made this decision for themselves!

  18. ObiWanKnoobie says:

    Long time lurker here just wanted to congratulate everyone on their sobriety. It has only been two months for me but you are all inspiring.

  19. tekla says:

    I’ve been sober from amphetamines for two and a half years now.