Demi Lovato says 'compassion' is key when helping an addict: Tough love 'made me act out more'

·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 min read

Demi Lovato credits being "California sober" with changing their life. 

Lovato, who changed their pronouns this week as they identify as nonbinary, joined Chelsea Handler's Dear Chelsea podcast to discuss substance abuse. The "Dancing With the Devil" singer has been incredibly candid about their addiction and recovery since nearly dying from an overdose in 2018. Lovato is now "California sober," meaning they smoke marijuana and occasionally drink in moderation.

"If I need to go without [weed] for a period of time, I can stop and be fine," Lovato said, saying they make sure to go on a "weedtox" regularly. "You feel super clear headed, super present."

Demi Lovato opens up about their recovery and being
Demi Lovato opens up about their recovery and being 'California sober.' (Photo: Getty Images)

When asked if those close to them support being "California sober," Lovato replied, "My team is for the most part pretty supportive. I've been on this journey since summer of 2019. I've gained trust back and they've seen me be able to have a healthy relationship with cannabis."

Lovato admitted their manager, Scooter Braun, and Max, their head of security, have some reservations. 

"I think it's out of protectiveness," they shared. "Everyone else around me knows how much it works for me and how much it's changed my life because I've been able to find relief and still wake up the next morning."

Lovato had poignant advice to anyone listening with a loved one battling addiction: "Compassion is key."

"I think the best way to handle any situation when it comes to helping someone through an addiction is having compassion for that person," they explained. "When that person is acting out in their addiction, they're hurting. Nobody ever acts out in addiction out of joy."

Lovato said that the "tough love" approach didn't work on them and that it "made me act out more."

"It's different for every person," they explained. "Tough love may work on some people — it did not work on me. Tough love, to me, felt like these people are leaving me once again. It kind of fueled the fire. It's why I stress compassion so much when talking about people in their addictions."

Lovato noted how they have a different relationship with some people now.

"For me, I can't be around people that are actively using things that either I used to like or just things that are dangerous," they shared. "I don't like watching my friends put themselves in situations that are harmful because I've lost a lot of people. I set a strong boundary with those people while also telling them if you need help, if you want help I'm here for you. I can't sit by and watch this happen to you. I'm not abandoning you, I'm here, but I can't sit by and watch. So when you're ready to get the help you need, I'll be there for you in whatever capacity you need me."

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