It looks as though Demi Lovato has relapsed after six years of sobriety. According to TMZ, the pop singer released a new single titled “Sober” on Thursday, where she details her struggles with drug and alcohol addiction.
“Momma I’m so sorry. I’m not sober anymore. And daddy, please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor”, she sings. “To the ones who never left me, we’ve been down this road before. I’m so sorry, I’m not sober anymore.”
Lovato also appears to apologize to her fans, singing: “I’m sorry that I’m here again. I promise I’ll get help. It wasn’t my intention. I’m sorry to myself.”
Here’s what you need to know about Demi Lovato’s history with sobriety:
1. She Began Drinking When She Was Hired by Disney Channel
In the recent documentary Simply Complicated, Lovato said that she began self-medicating when she was 17. In an effort to fit in better at school, she explained, she took the advice of a popular student and began partying excessively. She began drinking alcohol, and then, around the time she became a star via Disney Channel’s Camp Rock, she began using cocaine.
Joe Jonas, her Camp Rock co-star and boyfriend at the time, attempted to intervene, but was confident that her addictions were, for the most part, under control. Nick Jonas, a close friend of Lovato’s, believed that he had helped the singer straighten out her act.
“I felt a bit of pride about it. Selfishly, maybe I thought I’m helping her come back to being the Demi we all know and love”, he explained. “She’s not gonna do anything crazy and it’s gonna be fine.” Despite his best efforts, Lovato continued to use drugs and alcohol during this time.
“Prior to getting sober”, she told Refinery29, “I was one of those people who was like, I don’t give a f**k, whatever. And I used that as an excuse to do whatever I wanted. I was a nightmare to work with.”
2. She Attributes Her Addictions to Her Late Father Patrick Lovato
Lovato has attributed her substance abuse and sobriety issues to her birth father, Patrick Lovato. “I felt out of control the first time I did it. My dad was an addict and an alcoholic”, she said during Simply Complicated. “Guess I always searched for what he found in drugs and alcohol because it fulfilled him and he chose that over a family.”
Her sister Dallas Lovato told The Mighty that their father “would rage and yell and throw things, and Demi saw that.” A childhood friend of the family, Marissa Callahan, also spoke on Patrick’s behavior, and the negative influence that it had on the future Disney Channel star. “He would tell them he had cancer when he didn’t”, she revealed, “or he would tell them he’s dying tomorrow, when he wasn’t.”
Dianna De Garza, Lovato’s mother, told People Magazine that the safety of her children was what ultimately led to her divorcing Patrick in 1994. “When I realized they were not safe anymore”, she said, “no matter how much I loved this person and wanted things to change, I knew I had to get out.”
When Patrick passed away from cancer in 2013, Lovato admitted to her mixed feelings in a YouTube interview. “I was very conflicted when he passed, because he was abusive,” she explained.
“He was mean, but he wanted to be a good person. And he wanted to have his family, and when my mom married my stepdad, he still had this huge heart. To know that it wasn’t fully his fault really was saddening to me. I wanted to write about it. I wanted to process it.” Lovato wrote the 2015 song “Father” in Patrick Lovato’s memory.
3. She Entered Rehab After Assaulting a Backup Dancer In 2010
Lovato’s addictions reached a tipping point when she attacked one of her backup dancers, Alex “Shorty” Welch. The dancer reportedly told Lovato’s managers about her drug and alcohol problem after she trashed a hotel room during the Camp Rock 2 promotional tour. In Simply Complicated, Lovato recounts the events that led up to their confrontation:
I remember going to Kevin [Jonas] Sr. and saying, ‘Listen I want to thank whoever told on me because I know they were just worried about me, and you know I just really wanna know who told you.’ And I manipulated him into telling me who it was.“
Lovato remembers thinking, “I’m about to beat this b**ch up”, and proceeded to attack Welch by punching her several times. The incident made national headlines, and Lovato immediately checked into a treatment center. “Afterwards, Demi felt awful about her behavior and realized she needed to take personal responsibility for it,” a source told People Magazine. “Because of this… both she and her family realized she needed to take steps to get help immediately.”
After her stint in rehab, and a brief stay at a psychiatric ward in 2011, where she was treated for bipolarism, Lovato decided to stay sober. She remained on the wagon for six years, and recently took to Twitter to celebrate. “Just officially turned 6 years sober. So grateful for another year of joy, health and happiness. It IS possible.”
4. She Later Purchased the Rehab Center She Stayed At
In 2016, Lovato revealed that she had become a co-owner of the CAST Centers in Los Angeles, which is where she stayed during her rehab treatment. “I don’t know what it says, it just feels good”, Lovato told CBS News, “How many 24-year-olds own their own treatment center?”
Lovato admitted that she was not a model patient during her time at CAST. “Yeah, I was a nightmare. I would say … the word that I want to say, but it’s so inappropriate that I can’t.” She went on to explain that her sobriety and her good fortune in the industry is what inspired her to go into business with the treatment center.
“It sounds ridiculous but, like, I kind of made a pact with God”, she said. “And I don’t even think you’re supposed to do that, but I was, like, I promised, ‘If you make me a singer one day, I’m going to use my voice for so much more than singing, and I’m going to help people with it.”
Lovato also helped her mother Dianna De Garza overcome her addictions. In a 2018 interview with GMA, De Garza said that Lovato was the one who encouraged her to seek treatment. “Demi is the one that gave me the courage because she was being so open and honest and vocal about her struggles”, she said. “And I saw how much it was helping people everywhere. When I was writing my book, I thought, ‘I want to be honest and open and tell the whole story.'”
5. She Says She Has to Avoid ‘Triggers’ to Stay Sober
In an interview with Refinery29, Lovato admitted that she still has addictive tendencies. “I had to learn the hard way that I can’t do parties anymore,” she explained. “Some people can go out and not be triggered, but that’s not the case for me. I know [my life] sounds so boring, but I’ve come to a place where I’d rather be relaxed than get all dressed up and go to some party or club with people who don’t really care about my well-being at all.”
Lovato also mentioned that she was unable to watch the Oscar-winning documentary Amy, which chronicles the life of drug addicted singer Amy Winehouse. “To see white powder in a movie?” she said, “to see someone shooting up? It’s too triggering. If I feel even 1% unsure that I’m in a place where I can watch it, then I just don’t do it.”