Yesterday the news was all a-buzzin’ with the news that singer and former Disney channel star Demi Lovato was hospitalized due to a drug overdose. Some outlets reported that the drug in question was heroin and that she was administered Narcan at her home to revive her, while others reported that it was unclear what drug led to the overdose. Ultimately, only Demi Lovato can confirm that, when she is ready.
As Lovato recovers, there are a few points I want to make about her struggle with addiction, especially since so many of our kids like her.
Photo: @ddlovato on Instagram
Three things parents need to know about Demi Lovato’s drug overdose
1) Demi Lovato has struggled with addiction since she was a teenager.
Lovato is 25 years old, and first underwent treatment for addiction in 2011. Not even early fame and success could protect her from the lure of drugs and alcohol, and as we’ve seen with plenty of child stars, success and fame often seem to be a gateway to addiction. Lovato had celebrated five years sober this past March, according to The Cut.
What I want parents to take away from this is that we need to have conversations with our kids about drugs when they are young, and prepare them with the fact that they will one day be faced with a decision that could lead them to addiction. I remember having this first conversation with my son, now fourteen, when he was eleven. If you have young kids who are Demi fans, this is a great opportunity to talk with them about the dangers of addiction.
2) Demi Lovato admitted she had relapsed recently
Demi released a surprise song last month called “Sober,” in which she revealed she had relapsed. Some of the lyrics include:
Momma I’m so sorry I’m not sober anymore / And Daddy please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor / To the ones who never left me, we’ve been down this road before / I’m so sorry, I’m not sober.
This is another important conversation point to bring up to your children. While Demi ultimately made the choice at some point, few people ever make that choice with the intention to become addicts, and no one really knows or believes that they’ll become one. Then, when they are dependent, they don’t know how hard it will be to claw their way out of addiction. Demi made it over five whole years sober, but your kids need to understand that while drug addiction may start with one decision, it can only be ended with thousands and thousands of consecutive decisions not to use. Every single day, multiple times a day sometimes, the person in recovery has to choose sobriety. And once again, thousands and thousands of good and right decisions can ALL be undone with one bad one.
3) Demi Lovato is so much MORE than her addiction and her relapse
A quick look at Demi Lovato’s Instagram will reveal that commenters are being alternately supportive and abusive of the singer since yesterday’s overdose. It’s a shame that the negative commenters have taken all that Lovato has accomplished in her life and reduced her worth to zilch because she chose to use drugs. Far more encouraging is the response of Lovato’s fellow celebrities: from Justin Timberlake to Joe Jonas, Lovato received many kind and encouraging words on Twitter yesterday, with the main message being “You are strong and you are loved.” As parents we can use this example to tell our kids that although their lives may be drastically altered by one bad decision, that or those bad decisions do NOT determine their worth. Remind them, as Demi’s friend have reminded her, that no matter what, they are worthy of love and are highly valued to you and to God no matter what.
Praying for you @ddlovato. You are loved. 🙏
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) July 25, 2018
Demi Lovato’s fame makes it impossible to hide her relapse, and in many ways that is a double-edged sword.
Most likely your children and mine won’t become famous. If they battle with addiction, it will most likely be done in private. Lovato’s very public battle is helpful because addiction is easier to fight when it’s out in the open; but at the same time it’s hurtful because there are thousands more opportunities for her to be criticized and shamed for her choices and her disease. I’m no huge fan of Lovato’s but as a human being, I have compassion for her and I pray that she will fight this addiction and emerge victorious. I pray her fight will inspire others to fight for their lives as well, and I pray that it will inspire parents to speak with their kids about drugs and addiction so that they can will be prepared to make choices that lead them away from this particular battle.