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Demi Lovato says she started drinking and using drugs before her teenage years due to 'bullying'


Demi Lovato started experimenting with opiates when she was just 12. 

The singer, 30, revealed she turned to drink and drugs as a pre-teen because she had been ‘bullied and was looking for an escape’.

The former child star told how she would regularly steal alcohol from her stepfather through her teenage years, before turning to cocaine when she was 17, which she ‘loved too much’.

Demi was sober for six years from the age of 20 to 26, but suffered a near-fatal overdose in 2018, causing her to be legally blind and brain damaged, after having a heart attack and three strokes while in hospital

Opening up: Demi Lovato started experimenting with opiates when she was just 12, turning to drink and drugs as a pre-teen because she had been 'bullied and was looking for an escape'

Opening up: Demi Lovato started experimenting with opiates when she was just 12, turning to drink and drugs as a pre-teen because she had been ‘bullied and was looking for an escape’ 

Demi, who is now on a journey of sobriety, opened up on the Call Her Daddy podcast on Tuesday about her addiction issues.  

She said: ‘I started experimenting for the first time when I was 12, or 13. I got into a car accident and they prescribed me opiates.

‘I got into a car accident and they prescribed me opiates. My mom didn’t think she would have to lock up the opiates from her 13-year-old daughter but I was already drinking at that point. 

‘I had been bullied and was looking for an escape.’

Child star: The singer, 30,  told how she would regularly steal alcohol from her stepfather through her teenage years, before turning to cocaine when she was 17 (pictured in 2002)

Child star: The singer, 30,  told how she would regularly steal alcohol from her stepfather through her teenage years, before turning to cocaine when she was 17 (pictured in 2002)

'Major red flag': The actress explained how she was being bullied at the time and was looking for an escape, so would also steal beer from her dad's fridge and drink 'alone'

‘Major red flag’: The actress explained how she was being bullied at the time and was looking for an escape, so would also steal beer from her dad’s fridge and drink ‘alone’

The former Disney star admitted she would steal beer from her stepfather’s fridge and would drink ‘alone’, which ‘should have been a major red flag’. 

She then moved on to cocaine, adding: ‘At 17, it was the first time I tried coke and, like, loved it too much and then kinda bled into me going to treatment right after I turned 18.’  

Now on her journey to sobriety, Demi recently said she ‘rarely thinks about substances’ while speaking on Audacy’s Mix 104.1 in Boston. 

The singer said she ‘had people around [her] that wanted me to be sober. And I don’t think that I wanted it.’

Demi – who last year announced she was going ‘sober sober’ rather than ‘California sober’ – admitted she tried making ‘bargaining choices’ on the road to recovery.

Demi said: 'At 17, it was the first time I tried coke and, like, loved it too much and then kinda bled into me going to treatment right after I turned 18' (pictured in 2019)

Demi said: ‘At 17, it was the first time I tried coke and, like, loved it too much and then kinda bled into me going to treatment right after I turned 18’ (pictured in 2019)

She explained: ‘I tried just smoking weed, I tried doing this… And I just realised that none of it works for me. What’s come into my life is acceptance…

‘I’m in such acceptance of my life the way that it is that I really rarely think about substances, which is a beautiful thing and something that I never thought would happen to me.’

In December 2021, the star announced she will officially become ‘sober sober’ after her near-fatal drug overdose in 2018.

After previously taking a ‘California sober’ approach to recover from past drug and alcohol abuse, the singer revealed they will no longer drink alcohol or smoke marijuana in moderation.

‘I no longer support my “California sober” ways,’ Demi wrote on her Instagram Story. ‘Sober sober is the only way to be.’

Life-changing: Demi revealed she was just minutes away from death when she overdose back in 2018, that 'if no one had found her, she wouldn't be here'

Life-changing: Demi revealed she was just minutes away from death when she overdose back in 2018, that ‘if no one had found her, she wouldn’t be here’

In March 2021, Demi revealed she was just minutes away from death when her assistant found her on the night of the overdose back in 2018, telling CBS Sunday Morning that ‘if no one had found her, she wouldn’t be here’.

The traumatic overdose left her legally blind and with brain damage after suffering a heart attack and three strokes while in hospital.

When asked by a producer of 2021 YouTube documentary, Dancing With the Devil whether she was ‘entirely sober,’ Demi said she smoked weed and drank ‘in moderation’.

She said she struggled to come to terms with the idea that she might never be able to ‘get some relief’ from a substance again.

‘I’ve learned that shutting the door on things makes me want to open the door even more,’ she explained.

‘I’ve learned that it doesn’t work for me to say, “I’m never going to do this again.”

‘I’ve really struggled with this. I know I’m done with the stuff that’s going to kill me. But I wish that I could get some relief, maybe through weed or something.

‘And telling myself that I can never have a drink or smoke marijuana, I feel like that’s setting myself up for failure, because I am such a black and white thinker.

‘I had had it drilled into my head for so many years that one drink was equivalent to a crack pipe. I’ve been hesitant to share until now that I’ve been smoking weed and drinking in moderation.’

Demi admitted she grappled with how and when to share this information with the world for a number of reasons – the first being that she didn’t want people to ‘criticise’ for the decision, after being held as the ‘poster child of sobriety’.

‘I also don’t want people to hear that and think that they can just go out and try having a drink or smoking a joint because it isn’t for everybody,’ she continued.

‘Recovery isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. And you shouldn’t be forced to get sober if you’re not ready. You shouldn’t get sober for other people. You have to do it for yourself.’

So scary! The traumatic overdose left her legally blind and with brain damage after suffering a heart attack and three strokes while in hospital (pictured last month)

So scary! The traumatic overdose left her legally blind and with brain damage after suffering a heart attack and three strokes while in hospital (pictured last month)

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