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Demi Lovato rejects ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to sobriety, sexuality

·5 min read
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Demi Lovato is opening up about the circumstances surrounding her 2018 overdose and recovery, explaining that "balance" has become a key part of her life as she strays from the many restrictions that she and her team have placed on her in the past in order to live a more free life.

The 28-year-old singer has spoken about said restrictions when it came to food during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2020, when she said that the pressure to conform to a specific diet exacerbated her eating disorder. As she's become more intuitive with her body and the way that she nourishes it, the need to either binge or starve has seemingly dissipated. But more recently, Lovato has begun to explore a similar balance when it comes to her sobriety after realizing that an "all-or-nothing" approach felt complicated for her.

"I called [my recovery case manager, Charles Cook] and was like, ‘Something’s not right. I'm living one side of my life completely legalizing and this other side following a program that’s telling me if I slip up, I’m going to die," she told Glamour for the magazine's March 2021 cover story. "I think I want to try this balance thing in the substance side of my life, too."

The unique approach worried her team, Lovato admitted, although they ultimately decided that "She deserves this opportunity to make that choice for herself," she recalled. "So I did." Still, she clarified that her outlook on sobriety isn't one that she's preaching for others. Instead, she explained that her journey should encourage others to view their own as an individual one.

"A one-size-fits-all solution does not work for everybody," she said. “What I’m encouraging people to do is just make choices for themselves… Autonomy, for me, is what changed my life."

Making decisions for herself is not something that Lovato has been able to do in the past, after a rise to fame at a young age. Admittedly, the pressure that she felt to conform from both her fans and her closest teammates is what drove her to be inauthentic and ultimately unhappy.

"When I ignore and deny myself of my truth, I get angry and I overflow, and I make choices that are really bad for me," she explained.

For a while, however, ignoring who she was became part of her persona. "I was trying on different identities that felt authentic to me but weren’t me,” she said. “The super-feminine pop star was an identity that sounded like it fit and looked like it fit, so I put it on like it fit."

One of the most ironic and inauthentic eras of her career, she explained, was actually when she was preaching about confidence with her song Confident. "I was excited that I was in a comfortable place in my body to show more skin, but what I was doing to myself was so unhealthy. It was from a place of, ‘I’ve worked really f***ing hard on starving and following this diet, and I’m going to show off my body in this photo shoot because I deserve it," she said. "I wasn’t confident at all. I had a false confidence because I was conforming to everybody else’s ideals."

Still, the singer has done a lot of work since releasing that 2015 hit in order to peel back the layers of her authentic self and be able to share it with the world. Her most recent revelation has to do with her sexuality, after her highly publicized relationship with Max Ehrich.

"When I started getting older, I started realizing how queer I really am," she explained. "This past year I was engaged to a man, and when it didn’t work, I was like, This is a huge sign. I thought I was going to spend my life with someone. Now that I wasn’t going to, I felt this sense of relief that I could live my truth."

And although she's not rushing to open up about just what she's discovered about herself, Lovato did talk about feeling "too queer" to be with a cis man.

"I hooked up with a girl and was like, ‘I like this a lot more.’ It felt better. It felt right," she shared. "Some of the guys I was hanging out with—when it would come time to be sexual or intimate, I would have this kind of visceral reaction. Like, ‘I just don’t want to put my mouth there.’ It wasn’t even based on the person it was with. I just found myself really appreciating the friendships of those people more than the romance, and I didn’t want the romance from anybody of the opposite sex."

Admittedly, Lovato doesn't know exactly what her future will look like. But she has found solace in knowing that she is in full control.

"My heart is pretty open," she said. "I’m very much listening to my intuition, and that’s not to say my boundaries or my guard is up. It’s just saying my ears are perked a little higher and my eyes are open a little wider."

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