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Demi Lovato has been hinting at new music for months; she had previously dubbed the forthcoming single her “most heartbreaking song” and called it her “truth” on more than one occasio
On Thursday, June 21, Lovato dropped a surprise track called “Sober” and paired it with a lyric video on YouTube. The video opens with a scene that appears to show Lovato’s perspective after waking up hungover — then flashing back to a time in her life when she was actively using drugs and drinking alcohol.
“Wake me when the shakes are gone / And the cold sweats disappear / Call me when it’s over / And myself has reappeared,” she sings. “To the ones who never left me / We’ve been down this road before / I’m so sorry, I’m not sober anymore.”
She also uploaded a clip to Twitter, accompanied by the familiar sentiment: “My truth.”
She has offered no further explanation or context. But it seems safe to assume, given her reputation for honesty and openness, that Lovato wrote the revealing song about a recent relapse — despite celebrating six years of sobriety in March.
The revelation comes after a fan accused Lovato of breaking her sobriety in April, when it appeared that the “Sorry Not Sorry” songstress had Photoshopped a drink out of her hand. At the time, Lovato said that it was Red Bull but also added, “I don’t have to defend anything.”
“Sober” is clearly a meditation on Lovato’s feelings of guilt.
In the second verse of “Sober,” the former Disney Channel star laments that she wants to be a role model, but she’s “only human.” Lovato expressed a similar sentiment in an April interview with INSIDER.
“There’s definitely pressure. There’s pressure to maintain this role as kind of the poster child for recovery,” she told INSIDER. “But it also holds me accountable. So it’s a blessing. It doesn’t feel like a burden by any means but it does help me stay accountable for my actions today.”
Indeed, it’s clear from the lyrics that Lovato feels a sense of responsibility and guilt following her relapse.
“Momma, I’m so sorry I’m not sober anymore / And daddy, please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor,” she sings. “And I’m sorry for the fans I lost / Who watched me fall again.” At the end of the song, Lovato explicitly promises to “get help.”
Fans have rushed to support Lovato and say thank you for being open about her struggles.
Many pointed out the bravery it must have taken to release the song, especially considering Lovato’s public embrace of sobriety.
Some fans who have had similar experiences with addiction and sobriety also expressed gratitude that Lovato is honest about her ups and downs.
Others took the opportunity to discuss the nature of addiction, reassuring Lovato (and other readers who might be struggling) that, for many, relapse is a part of recovery.
Lovato’s close friend Iggy Azalea also tweeted a message of love and support on Friday morning.
“I’m proud of you for having the guts to reveal your truth to the world again. NOT. EASY,” the rapper wrote. “I’m here for you friend! (you know this) I pray you’ll choose recovery again. All of us who love you only want to see you happy and heathy [sp].”
It’s important to note that it’s possible Lovato wrote “Sober” about her past.
As the singer has not made any statements since the song was released, it’s unclear whether the implied relapse was recent or happened long ago — or even whether it’s current.
Given that Lovato has been busy these past few months while on tour in Europe, collaborating with Christina Aguilera, and promoting various brand deals, it does not appear that fans have noticed any struggles or differences in Lovato’s behavior. But she does seem to have recently parted ways with CAST Centers— her former treatment center, which she previously brought on tour to provide group therapy sessions — as it no longer features Lovato on its website as a co-owner.
Indeed, Lovato recently told a fan that the biggest lesson she has learned this year is that “you can’t always trust people who you once thought saved you.”
Mike Bayer — Lovato’s former sobriety “coach,” mentor, friend, and business partner at CAST — has not commented on her apparent split from the organization or on her new song.
Nevertheless, Lovato also recently tweeted that she has “grown more in the past two months than I have in years” and that she feels like “a new woman.”
Given the dark tone of “Sober,” this sentiment is encouraging to say the least. All fans can hope for at the moment is that Lovato is safe and focused on her mental health.
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