Demi Lovato Responds to Criticism Over Being California Sober: 'It's More Than I Need'

demi lovato california sober
credit: @ddlovato/Instagram

Demi Lovato’s YouTube docuseries Dancing With the Devil has largely been lauded for its unflinching honesty. But one thing people aren’t a fan of? The idea that Demi Lovato isn’t 100% sober.

Demi’s docuseries spends a great deal of time detailing the singer’s 2018 overdose and the horrible medical ramifications including multiple strokes, a heart attack, brain damage, and long-term damage to their vision.

So when Demi revealed that they were still drinking alcohol and smoking weed, aka “California Sober,” many fans were shocked.

Even friends who appeared on the docuseries seemed to disapprove. Elton John, who’s been sober himself for over 30 years, said,

“Sorry — if you drink, you’re going to drink more. If you take a pill, you’re going to take another one. You either do it or you don’t.”

Their new manager Scooter Braun also expressed concern, saying,

“Demi knows the whole moderation thing isn’t something I totally agree with.”

Their opinions stem from the mainstream belief that, in order to recover from addiction, one must be 100% sober. Most treatment programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, endorse complete and total sobriety.

But after numerous attempts at getting sober, Demi decided that wasn’t the path for them — at least not right now. In a recent interview with Zach Sang, they said,

“I didn’t make up this term, right? I just heard it and was like, ‘Oh, that sounds green and applies to me. 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.”

They added,

“It’s just about identifying what works best for you and going forward with that.”

But the huge backlash to their decision has led them to retreat a bit and Demi said they no longer wants to talk about her sobriety choices in public. They explained,

“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.”

Demi continued,

“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.”

Demi first attempted to get sober occurred back in 2010 after they notoriously punched a female backup dancer while on tour with the Jonas Brothers. They entered rehab and later admitted to “self-medicating” with drugs and alcohol at the time.

A few years later, they revealed that their time in rehab wasn’t entirely successful and decided to enter a sober-living home in 2013.

In June 2018, after six years of sobriety, Demi revealed they had relapsed in their song ‘Sober.’

A month after the release of the single, Demi overdosed on oxycodone laced with fentanyl.

Since their overdose, Demi says they have quit all hard drugs, including cocaine. Demi remains California Sober for the time being.


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Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.