2018 was a roller coaster for Demi Lovato. The singer and actress who is known for being vocal about raising awareness and ending the stigma surrounding mental health and addiction admitted to fans and loved ones that she relapsed after six years of sobriety. Expressing herself through her music, Lovato admitted to feeling as if she had failed not only herself but all those who looked up to her.
A few short months after she revealed her relapse, Demi Lovato supporters were shocked to learn she suffered an apparent overdose and rushed to the hospital in July of 2018. Following her release from the hospital, Lovato entered rehab where she completed a 60 day treatment program. She’s since maintained her sobriety by focusing on her career and surrounding herself with family and friends.
That doesn’t erase all of the strides she made in her recovery before her relapse. March 15th, 2019 would have been 7 years for the former Disney star, and she took to her Instagram Story to share her thoughts, writing:
“Today I would’ve had 7 years sober. I don’t regret going out because I needed to make those mistakes but I must never forget that’s exactly what they were: mistakes. Grateful that AA/NA never shuts the door on you no matter how many times you have to start your time over. I didn’t lose 6 years; I’ll always have that experience but now I just get to add to that time with a new journey and time count.”
Demi Lovato’s public battle with addiction, relapse, and return to sobriety has sparked a necessary conversation about what it means to be in recovery. For some, relapse is just part of the journey. Erasing the shame of relapse and encouraging people to continue striving for recovery instead can help us address the substance abuse epidemic. Just like any chronic disease, addiction recovery is a daily journey that shouldn’t end just because you slipped backward.