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Demi Lovato renounces ‘California sober,’ says they are now ‘sober sober’

“I no longer support my California sober ways,” Lovato said on Thursday.
Demi Lovato in a black suit jacket smiles onstage holding a microphone.
Demi Lovato performs on Sept. 25, 2021 in Los Angeles.Rich Fury / Getty Images for Global Citizen

Pop star Demi Lovato is renouncing their “California sober” ways and says they’re now entirely sober, just three years after nearly dying during a drug overdose.

“I no longer support my California sober ways,” Lovato, who uses they/them pronouns, posted on their Instagram story. “Sober sober is the only way to be.”

In a March interview with “CBS Sunday Morning,” the singer said they still use marijuana and drink alcohol. 

“I think the term that I best identify with is ‘California sober,’” Lovato said. “I really don’t 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, because it might not.”

The “complete abstinent method isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for everybody,” they added at the time. 

Their comments set off a storm of media coverage about the concept of “California sober,” for which there is no technical definition in medical literature, an expert told TODAY. But in pop culture, it’s often used to describe abstaining from alcohol and drugs, except marijuana. Others allow for the use of psychedelics. 

One of the first references to “California sober” seems to have come from a 2019 Vice article.

In their YouTube docuseries, “Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil,” Lovato appeared to include some alcohol intake in her version of California sober.

“Telling myself I can never have a drink or smoke marijuana is setting myself up for failure because I am such a black-and-white thinker,” they said. “I had it drilled into my head for so many years that one drink was equivalent to a crack pipe.”