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Demi Lovato: What does ‘California sober’ mean?

The Independent logo The Independent 22/03/2021 Joanna Whitehead
a woman sitting in a chair © Provided by The Independent

Demi Lovato has described herself as “California sober” in a frank new interview about her recovery.

Speaking on CBS Sunday Morning, the musician and actor spoke about her recovery from substance abuse and her close-to-fatal 2018 overdose.

The 28-year-old said she “had to essentially die to wake up” after the incident. “Like, if no one had found me, then I wouldn’t be here. And… I’m grateful that I’m sitting here today,” she said.

In the interview, Lovato said she had to “grow up and take control” of her life: “That’s something I haven’t done until the past two years of my life where I’m now in control of my finances, I’m now in control of the food that I eat, how often I work out.

“I think the term I best identify with is ‘California sober,’” she added.

But what does “California sober” actually mean? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is “California sober”?

“California sober” or “Cali sober” is interpreted differently by different people, but broadly speaking, it refers to someone who uses marijuana, but doesn’t drink alcohol.

Urban Dictionary says: “To abstain oneself from all of the drugs. With obvious exceptions of copious amounts of marijuana and psychedelics.”

Singer Fiona Apple has also spoken previously about adopting this approach. She said: “Alcohol helped me for a while, but I don’t drink anymore. Now it’s just pot, pot, pot. And I get up at like 5 am.”

a man holding a sign: Getty Images © Provided by The Independent Getty Images

This approach may seem unorthodox to Brits, as cannabis continues to be illegal in the UK, while alcohol consumption is embedded in our culture.

Comparatively, the use of cannabis for recreational purposes was legalised in the Golden State in 2018, while medical marijuana was permitted as early as 1996.

Other states throughout the US that have legalised recreational cannabis use include Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont and Washington.

What is Demi Lovato’s current situation?

Demi Lovato wearing a costume: AFP via Getty Images © Provided by The Independent AFP via Getty Images

As part of her personal recovery, Lovato told Smith that she still drinks alcohol and smokes cannabis.

In the interview, she said: “I don’t really feel comfortable explaining the parameters of my recovery to people, because I don’t want anyone to look at my parameters of safety and think that’s what works for them.”

Lovato continued: “Just like I feel the complete abstinent method isn’t a one-size-fits-all method for everybody, I don’t think that this journey of moderation is a one-size-fits-all solution for everybody too.”

When will Lovato’s new documentary drop?

A new four-part YouTube docuseries titled Dancing With the Devil is set to drop on Lovato’s YouTube channel on 23 March.

Directed by Michael D Ratner, Dancing With the Devil will follow the 28-year-old singer through the last three years of her life and career, with production starting in 2018 during the singer's ‘Tell Me You Love Me’ world tour.

Describing the film's story, a press release states that Dancing With the Devil will take “an honest look back at some of the most trying times in Lovato’s life as she unearths her prior traumas and discovers the importance of her physical, emotional, and mental health”.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, you can visit Frank for support and advice. You can also call the Frank drugs helpline on 0300 123 6600.


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