Why Demi Lovato Is Kicking the “California Sober” Lifestyle
Demi Lovato’s Story of Addiction, Overdose, and Recovery
Demi Lovato was a child actor turned singer, with her debut album “Don’t Forget” released in 2008. Lovato became a successful recording artist for many years, and along with that came the celebrity lifestyle, including overindulging in drugs and alcohol. Lovato entered rehab in 2012 for alcoholism, cocaine addiction, and an eating disorder and claimed she had been sober until a 2017 documentary revealed Lovato had been sneaking cocaine and other substances. Lovato was unable to perform multiple times due to being high or hungover. Lovato also told in an interview that she overdosed on opiates in 2018, and Lovato was five to 10 minutes from death. Lovato went to a drug rehab program for addiction treatment, and in 2021 an initial diagnosis of bipolar disorder was revised to an ADHD diagnosis, along with other trauma being revealed. Receiving proper addiction treatment, Lovato was able to return to their singing career, releasing the song “Dancing with the Devil” on YouTube TV praising the “California Sober” lifestyle, and later released another song entitled “California Sober.”
Demi advocated strongly for this lifestyle for a while. Still, Lovato has since stopped using alcohol and marijuana, posting on their Instagram that she “no longer support (their) ‘California sober’ ways. Sober is the only way to be.” What caused their attitude change is unknown, but Lovato has now completely quit using any addictive substance.
What Is “California Sober”?
California Sober is a term used for a state of semi-sobriety. This means that people will stop using certain substances but continue with others, like smoking marijuana but quitting pills and alcohol or smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol but not using harder drugs. The thought behind it is that if you use “less addictive” substances in moderation, the result will be less harmful. Essentially it is trading one vice for another, and experts do not believe this is a safe or effective method of sobriety.
Why Smoking Weed and Drinking Can Keep You From Fully Recovering From Addiction
When you continue to smoke weed and drink alcohol, you are only switching to a new vice rather than finding the underlying root issue that causes addiction. It is much more likely for somebody who replaces alcohol with weed, for example, to start drinking again.
Abstinence vs. Moderation
Abstinence is when you entirely stop using any addictive substance or engaging in addictive behaviors, including using alcohol and marijuana. Moderation is a self-regulated intake of certain substances or participation in certain behaviors, with the belief that a small, reasonable amount of anything will not cause you to become addicted to it.
Abstinence is essential if a person engages in life-threatening behaviors or uses dangerous substances such as inhalants. Still, otherwise, it is a gray area with advocates on both sides.
There are moderation management groups that assert that for many people, especially those who have only been abusing substances for a short period, it is possible to drink alcohol or use certain drugs safely and not engage in problematic behaviors or develop an addiction. These groups believe that you can change risky habits and actions by promoting a healthier lifestyle and responsibility while maintaining some level of consumption.
It becomes complicated because everybody has a different idea of what ‘moderation’ means, and it may be easy for somebody to go overboard with their consumption. Heavy drinking is only a few drinks a day, for example, which may not seem like much to a person who frequents parties, clubs, and bars.
California Sober to many may be the easy way out of taking their addiction and their own health seriously. Admitting you have an addiction and need help can be challenging, and starting down the road to recovery can be scary. Still, if you think you have a substance abuse issue, you may need to consider professional intervention, which will likely include complete abstinence from drugs and alcohol.
Addiction Recovery Programs That Support Abstinence
Addiction is a chronic condition, and relapses are very common, with around 40 to 60 percent of people relapsing at least once in their lives. Some of the signs and symptoms to look for if you believe you may be addicted to a substance include:
- Having an increased tolerance to the substance and needing to take more to get the same effect
- Not being able to quit or cut back from the substance
- Finding yourself behaving in ways you usually wouldn’t, like lying, stealing, performing sex work, spending time with people you normally wouldn’t and other behaviors to get access to drugs or money for drugs
- Having legal troubles related to drugs or alcohol
- Keeping stashes of drugs and paraphernalia or alcohol around the house, the workplace, or on your person
- Finding that your social life is limited to drug or alcohol-related activities, and you have a preoccupation with getting more of the substance or having your next drink
- Missing work, performing poorly, or skipping other commitments due to drug use, drinking, or hangovers
- Prioritizing the substance over your interests, friends, family, and other people’s needs
- Drinking or using drugs in secret, feeling guilty about your substance use or using in the morning
- Continuing to use the substance even when it causes money, family, and health problems
- Having withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop
If even a few of these symptoms sound familiar, it is likely time to speak to an addiction treatment professional about your options.
Many different causes may trigger relapses. Depending on your history with drugs and alcohol, your mental health and well-being, where you are living, and what types of support you have, you may have distress, feelings of hopelessness, compulsive behavior, and a “fight or flight” response to triggers such as:
- Situations that cause emotional distress like conflict or loss
- Feeling unsafe or feeling a loss of control
- Returning to a specific place, hanging out with old friends or certain memories
- Seeing news stories, or something on TV or in a book that triggers you
- Having problems at work or in your relationship
- Feeling misunderstood, judged, attacked, or invalidated
- Feeling bored or lonely
- Having an untreated mental illness, trauma, or abuse
- Attending celebrations, holidays, and parties
Relapse is much more likely if you haven’t addressed your underlying trauma, mental health issues, and problematic behaviors.
Programs that support abstinence:
It is important to have connections to a support system in recovery. Any treatment plan will provide you with healthy coping mechanisms, but these may be difficult to put into place in the real world. Peer groups, counseling, and therapy can help you avoid relapsing through these difficult moments.
There are many recovery programs for addiction that support abstinence and can help you stop using drugs and alcohol in a healthy way. These include:
- 12-step programs: one of the most known 12-step programs is Alcoholics Anonymous, but many fall within this umbrella. The basis of a 12-step program is that, to recover from addiction, a person needs to have a spiritual awakening and turn themselves over to a higher power as you follow the 12 steps to recovery.
- SMART Recovery groups: Self Management and Recovery Training (SMART) recovery is a self-empowerment group that provides tools to help you change your mindset, learn to manage urges, handle emotions and thoughts, change your behaviors, and find a balance in your life. This group will help you find motivation and strength within yourself.
- Women for Sobriety (WFS): WFS is a support group for women who are addicted to alcohol. It is based on emotional growth, positivity, and 13 “acceptance statements” that will help you change how you think and behave. This group believes that holistic healing, meditation, and a good diet are essential to recovery.
- Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS): This support organization is not affiliated with any outside organization. It is for anybody who wants to be free from addiction, and the only requirement is that members remain abstinent. This is a non-religious, non-spiritual organization that promotes rational thought and taking responsibility for one’s actions.
- LifeRing Secular Recovery: LifeRing is an organization that believes that each person can control the addiction inside them by strengthening their “sober self.” There is an emphasis on self-control, positivity, and support.
Suppose you are thinking about going “California Sober.” In that case, it may be time to talk to a professional addictions counselor, doctor, or therapist, so you can dig deep, be honest with yourself and decide whether you need to take your sobriety further. Substance abuse can be a complex symptom of deep-down issues, and your treatment should be tailored to your specific needs.
At Muse Treatment, we can help you figure out your level of addiction and provide holistic, psychiatric, and medical resources to stop your drug and alcohol abuse. We will help you get to the underlying cause of your addiction and gain sobriety tools you can use for the rest of your life. Contact us at (800) 426-1818 today to learn more about what we can do for you.