Demi Lovato won’t discuss her ‘California sober’ lifestyle to avoid ‘scrutiny’


Last month, we talked about Demi Lovato’s docuseries, which deals a lot with her recovery and her therapy and treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. Demi deals with her situation with a lot of brutal honesty which is, at times, uncomfortable to hear. One issue in particular got a lot of headlines: the issue of Demi declaring herself “California sober.” Demi defines California sober as still drinking sometimes and still smoking weed. Other people say that California sober is actually “just weed” and no drinking, no pills, no hard drugs. Sobriety and rehab professionals are pretty mad about all of it. Still, Demi continues to talk about it, if only to say that she’s not going to keep detailing what she’s still doing.

Some were surprised when, in the documentary, Demi admitted that she wasn’t completely sober and was still enjoying alcohol and weed “in moderation” despite some of her inner circle disagreeing with the decision. During one episode, she revealed that, while she’s “done with the stuff that’s going to kill me,” total sobriety would be “setting myself up for failure.” She called the approach being “California sober” and penned a song about it on her latest album. However, the singer was quick to add that her decision shouldn’t be viewed as a “one-size-fits-all solution” for addiction recovery.

Despite her inner circle’s worries, though, Demi appeared in high spirits earlier this week as she celebrated 420, posing with a bong on her Instagram stories. And in a recent interview with Zach Sang, Demi went into more detail about her song “California Sober”, explaining that it was about “identifying what works best for you.”

“‘California Sober’ is extremely important, because that song represents an alternate path to the recovery that I’ve been taught … the past 10 years of dealing with this stuff,” she said. “It’s not saying that this works for everybody, but it’s saying that that other solution isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and there’s options….It’s just about identifying what works best for you and going forward with that.”

But while discussing the term itself, Demi said that she would “probably never” discuss the parameters of her recovery and would instead keep the details private.

“I didn’t make up this term, right? I just heard it, and was like, ‘Oh, that sounds [great] and applies to me,’” she said. “But I think that different people have different meanings for it. So, it might be moderation to some people, it might be only natural things to some people. For me, I’ve decided that I’m probably never going to discuss the parameters surrounding my recovery and what that looks like. Because when I do get into details with people, it just kind of opens myself up for more scrutiny than I need. 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.”

[From Buzzfeed]

I go back and forth on all of this, as I suspect Demi does too. She wants to be brutally honest with people and talk about what she’s been through and where she is… but she also wants to set the parameters of the conversation and avoid criticism for the (poor) state of her current recovery. She wants to be able to define Cali Sober but she won’t actually describe how she’s defining it these days. I respect the fact that Demi seems, as always, hyper-aware of her own process and what will benefit her own mental health. She’s right that everyone is different and everyone can define success on their own terms. But… I don’t know, it definitely feels like she’s trying to avoid scrutiny because she knows that she’s threatening her own recovery?


Photos courtesy of Demi’s IG.

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33 Responses to “Demi Lovato won’t discuss her ‘California sober’ lifestyle to avoid ‘scrutiny’”

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  1. Midge says:

    She is officially my least favorite celeb, a position formerly held by GOOPY.

  2. Cecilia says:

    Im sorry but it sounds to me like she’s still very much addicted (maybe not to hard drugs anymore but definitely to alcohol) and is trying to avoid criticism.

    I wish her the best of luck in her recovery tho.

    • tealily says:

      Yeah, it seems like she’s trying to believe that she has it worked out and is in a good place, but she’s not.

    • Case says:

      Yup, agreed. I think she needs to deal with this more in private instead of trying to make it seem like she’s fine when she clearly is struggling.

  3. ThatgirlThere says:

    I wish her wellness and happiness but I just don’t like her.

  4. Ariel says:

    Never known addiction recovery to work with one foot in and one out.
    I hope it works for her, and wish her the best.

  5. Brittany says:

    Addiction is horrible. I feel for her.

    At the same time, everything she says is dripping in privilege. She clearly has access to the best of the best treatment and I can’t help but be reminded of how difficult it is in this country for the average person. Really sad.

  6. Oh_Hey says:

    I’m of two minds. Most research shows the absolute sobriety 12 step and America’s society at large demands is just not possible. Non-addicts expect to drink and smoke and drug around their sober friends but judge them harshly versus creating a sober environment that they can still participate in.

    At the exact same time, Demi is a life long addict that gets stuck on everything from heroine to exercise. The sad reality is we’re all probably going to be hearing about this for years until there’s another tragedy. She can’t do moderation the way a lot of other addicts may be able to. I’m not going to judge everyone by her messy standards but she needs to stop talking about this ASAP.

    • FYI says:

      Literally millions of recovering addicts / alcoholics have absolute sobriety. Millions. It is by all means possible.

  7. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    She’s starting to sound British lol. Wanting to discuss everything royal, be condescending toward Harry and Meghan and have the last word. The last word is fictional. It’s a frail facade the conversation is over, it’s old and it’s tiresome. If you’re online discussing yourself, you will see things you might like every bit as much as you’ll see things you do not. Yawn.

  8. Bryn says:

    So shes triggered by sugar free cookies, but smoking weed and celebrating 4/20 like its your birthday is fine?

    • Sigmund says:

      Yeah, she seems very inconsistent, to put it mildly. I’m not sure she IS in recovery—she still seems to have a lot of mania and mood swings, though that could also be due to her bipolar disorder. I think she needs to take a step back, focus on herself and her recovery, and not engage with social media or the media in general.

    • Haylie says:

      Seems that way, doesn’t it.

      She’s exhausting.

  9. Maria says:

    But small businesses deserve all the negative scrutiny they can get, right?

    I unfollowed out of pure immature spite every prominent person who liked her frozen yogurt video on Instagram that I was previously following 😂 Demi just irritates me. I wish her the best of health but I don’t find her to be self-aware at all or making decent choices.

  10. Jessie says:

    There is a paradigm of recovery that focuses on harm reduction and it seems that’s the path she has chosen. It is much harder than sobriety, but I know people who have pulled it off.

    • Sigmund says:

      Honest question: why would harm reduction be a safe option for someone with bipolar disorder? Additional substances would almost certainly be affecting her disorder, not to mention any treatments she may be on.

  11. Merricat says:

    Demi is super stubborn, and she won’t let anyone tell her that she’s wrong. This is complicated by the fact that she feels absolutely entitled to judge others for whatever gets under her skin. I wish it were different.

  12. Joy says:

    Did she take a break from trying to shut down mom and pop food stores to do more navel gazing?

  13. Jumpingthesnark says:

    The harm reduction paradigm is germane in recovery treatment but none of those folks would call themselves “sober” if they were still using drugs or alcohol of any kind. If she were doing harm reduction she has the platform to be able to discuss that publicly. This sounds like she is still using but wants get the credit for being sober. Which sounds like denial, frankly.

  14. Lucy says:

    Not only will she end up talking about it non-stop, she’ll also release a song called California Sober. Mark my words.

  15. Spicecake38 says:

    This makes me really nervous/uncomfortable.
    I don’t follow her on social media or pay attention to her career except what is discussed on CB,or shown on the news,but I know she is an addict,and seems to be making excuses to continue using.She also seems to criticize but doesn’t deal well with criticism from others. I think she is a bit of a bully,and seems immature to me.

    She is an adult who can obviously do as she pleases,but she nearly killed her self with the last overdose and has admitted to having permanent health damage from that horrible experience . I hope what she is doing will work for her,but I get the sick feeling she will end up dead at a young age,from substance abuse. I hope I’m wrong.

  16. grabbyhands says:

    Translation: I want and need A LOT of attention, but I don’t want to be questioned or criticized for anything I say or do, including trying to torpedo a small business because I decided to be a morally outraged Karen for no reason.

  17. BeeCee says:

    I say this as a fan of Demi’s music (and music only)… She needs to grow up.
    She’s doing so much damage to herself by trying to make excuses for crappy things happening in her life… but at least on the plus side, this should prompt parents of her younger fans to have serious conversations with their children regarding drugs and how they can be misused. For Demi’s sake, she really should be 100% sober, because her life and lifestyle will really just throw her back into hard drugs, and last time it almost killed her.

    In light of her recent crap apology of the frozen yogurt debacle, I just want to promote the hell out of this youtube video… and promote the hell out of this channel (Observe) in general for whenever a celebrity has to apologize for crap they do.

    This guy Logan has such an amazing analyst of Demi’s body language when she’s “apologizing”. And he truly goes off ranting at the end because it’s clear that Demi really doesn’t give a crap. She’s just saying sorry because people are mad at her.

    When she apologizes, you can tell by her body language and facial impressions that she really isn’t sorry. This is her way of explaining her actions, and why she doesn’t think she’s wrong.

    At the end of the day, she’s attacking a small business regarding their signage, when what she’s really mad at is the company name “Eat Me Guilt-free”.

    She seriously needs to grow up

  18. Evenstar says:

    Never forget how she did an interview with Nick Jonas and publicly bragged about encouraging him to break up with Olivia Culpo and then made fun of her with him. Flash forward to now, when she tried to publicly shame that bakery for no good damn reason. Along with her substance use treatment, this woman needs a really good DBT specialist.

    • Concern Fae says:

      Yup. I’m a firm believer in harm reduction and that totally sober doesn’t work for everyone, but… this path does involve a lot of humility and recognizing your own faults. She doesn’t seem to be on that path. DBT is about learning to recognize your own needs and boundaries, while recognizing that everyone around you has needs and boundaries of their own that you need to respect. Even yogurt places. And the program I was in made a big deal of taking responsibility for your own triggers, working to be not so reactive, and recognizing that if somewhere was a bad place for you, getting the fuck out and going somewhere else.

      On the other hand, we don’t know her and she could be in objectively bad shape and still doing 1000% better than she was before.

  19. K says:

    She wants support and attention, but not criticism. She doesn’t want to die from using, but also doesn’t really want to be sober. Her mental health issues seem to be more of a threat to her life than drug use. I hope she makes it, but thinks she’ll have to shut up and just do the work while managing her life less publicly. Find a great therapist (weed might take the edge off, but isn’t a therapist.) Find ways to feel more grounded, not distracted, experiencing life in the here and now as a person, not a celebrity.

  20. Elaine Stritch says:

    She’s right. Everybody has the right to determine the terms of their own sobriety. Thing is, she’s not sober.

  21. Anna says:

    I have seen how recovery groups try to control people down to the very tiniest detail and with social media and her large presence as a celebrity, it makes sense that she would dial it back as far as keeping things to herself. She knows what’s good and not good for her, and there are definitely issues with a one-size-fits-all approach. Some people *can* smoke weed and that’s it. imho, it’s the “light” drinking that is the gateway. That leads to really impaired judgement and exacerbates mental health issues in a way that weed does not. So that’s the only part of this that worries me. Otherwise, I think she knows herself best and she’s the one who has to live with her decisions.

  22. Melanie P says:

    Geez, her face looks like a shiny balloon 🎈