“I didn’t know if I’d ever step foot on a stage again,” the Disney Channel alum, 28, admitted during an interview with CBS Sunday Morning on Sunday, March 21. “When I woke up at the hospital and I was like, ‘I don’t know the full extent of the damage that’s been done.’ I hadn’t tried singing yet.”
In January 2020, Lovato performed live for the first time since her near-fatal OD, standing in front of the Staples Center audience in a stunning white gown. As she sang the first few lyrics of “Anyone,” which she wrote before her drug addiction relapse, the Camp Rock star was overcome with emotion and took a moment to breathe. With the support of the crowd, she started over — and belted the powerful verses with a newfound strength. The performance was met with a standing ovation.
The “Skyscraper” singer was rushed to the hospital in July 2018, one month after she confirmed that she had fallen off the wagon after six years of sobriety. After being released from the hospital in August 2018, Lovato spent three months in an intensive rehab program.
While she’s been outspoken about her struggles throughout her career, Lovato detailed her addiction and recovery in her YouTube documentary, Dancing With the Devil. “My doctors said that I had five to 10 more minutes,” she recalled of the overdose, revealing that she had three strokes and a heart attack as a result of the incident.
“I was left with brain damage, and I still deal with the effects of that today. I don’t drive a car because I have blind spots in my vision. I also for a long time had a really hard time reading,” she continued. “It was a really big deal when I was able to read out of a book, like, two months later because my vision was so blurry. I’ve dealt with the repercussions, and they’re there to remind me what could happen if I get into a dark place again. I’m grateful for these reminders.”
Despite the severe side effects of her overdose, Lovato hasn’t completely cut out every substance from her life. While speaking with CBS This Morning, the “I Love Me” songstress described her decision to occasionally smoke marijuana or drink alcohol, adding that she considers herself “California sober.” The moderation method is what works for Lovato, but she doesn’t expect everyone to use the same approach.
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“I don’t want anyone to look at my parameters of safety and think that’s what works for them because it might not,” she said. “Just like I feel the complete abstinence method isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for everybody, I don’t feel like this journey of moderation is a one-size-fits-all solution for everybody too.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).