Demi Lovato's New Song Is an Anthem for Those Who Struggle With Self-Destructive Behavior


Editor's Note

If you struggle with self-harm or live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, visit this resource.

A few days ago, Demi Lovato came out with a new single, “Sober” that spreads a powerful truth about recovery, relapses and healing. I broke down in tears the first time I heard it because of my ability to connect to it. I could hear myself saying every word she was singing. I’ve always loved Demi Lovato — since her debut with the Jonas Brothers in “Camp Rock” when I was a kid, to watching her documentary earlier last year about her struggles with an eating disorder, drinking, drugs, anxiety and depression. In the song, she opens up about relapsing after six years of sobriety. While I am not addicted to alcohol, I have been addicted to self-harm, I’ve struggled with an eating disorder and panic attacks, I have been in a long fight with depression for the last almost seven years now and I have attempted suicide twice. Regardless of your addiction or struggle, Demi gives the most raw, real, and honest depiction of what it’s like to be in recovery and what it’s like to slip up and relapse through this song.

I often feel like I am programmed to self-destruct because it feels like no matter how hard I try, I always find a new way to destroy myself. And as soon as I stop one self-destructive behavior, it’s not long before I fall back into another one. I never thought I would hurt myself, etch words like “die,” “fail,” and “fuck-up” into my skin. I never thought I would starve myself or purge, crying beside the toilet. I never thought I would turn to drugs or alcohol. Yet, I’ve done all of those things. And like Demi Lovato sings in her chorus,

I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know why

I do it every, every, every time.

It’s only, when I’m lonely.

Sometimes I just wanna cave and I don’t wanna fight,

I try and I try and I try and I try and I try,

just hold me, I’m lonely.

You can hear the pain, the desperation, the fight and the defeat in her voice, through every word. I could not have put it better myself. I don’t know why I do it, I don’t know why it’s every time, I don’t know why I isolate myself when I know I only do these things when I’m alone. And there are so, so many times I just want to cave in and stop fighting. Sometimes I just need someone to sit with me, hold me and just be there.

In her song, she apologizes to her parents, to her fans, to her support system and “to the ones who never left me.” I am so sorry to all the people I have hurt and all the people who have been affected by my mental illnesses. There have been so many people who have seen me at my worst, and I know how happy they are when I even just have one good day because those don’t come by often for me. But when I fall back into old habits and self-destructive patterns, I am so sorry for the people who get the aftermath of my actions. To my parents who have to get phone calls that I’m bad again, I’m sorry. To my friends who get drunk texts and pleas at 2 a.m. to tell me to keep fighting, I’m sorry. To my roommates who come in to see me shaking on the floor, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I keep slipping up.

But as she closes out her song, “I”m sorry that I’m here again. I promise I’ll get help. It wasn’t my intention, I’m sorry to myself.” I have an incredible amount of respect for celebrities who are open and honest about their struggles and willing to share them with their fans. You make us feel less alone and say the words we can’t always find for ourselves. And that makes all the difference. This song is proof that recovery is not linear, it’s not easy and it is a lifelong fight. This song shows the reality of relapsing and the hurt that comes with it. But, it also shows that when you slip up, you are not alone. And that is a powerful, powerful, truth.

Header image via Demi Lovato Facebook page


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Self-harm

young girl

Forced Drugging of Immigrant Children Highlights an Issue We Don't Talk About

The country watched in (almost) unanimous horror as immigrant children were separated from their parents at the U.S. Southern border. A lawsuit filed by the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law has only added to the outcry, alleging children staying in government-funded facilities have been routinely forced or tricked into taking psychotropic drugs without their parents’ [...]
16 Lies That Are Too Easy to Believe If You Grew Up in an Abusive Household

16 Lies That Are Too Easy to Believe If You Grew Up in an Abusive Household

When you’ve survived childhood abuse, it’s common to carry emotional baggage with you into adulthood. And it makes sense — if the only messaging you received in your upbringing was abusive, it’s no wonder children who were abused grow up to have greater struggles with self-esteem, interpersonal relationships and mental health. In addition to carrying [...]
15 Signs of Emotional Abuse We Don't Talk About

15 Signs of Emotional Abuse We Don't Talk About

A lot of us don’t know or aren’t taught the signs of emotional abuse — especially when it’s a loved one in our life engaging in the abusive behavior. In fact, some of us who have experienced emotional abuse may not even realize we have, simply because it was the only reality we knew in important relationships [...]
woman reading book while relaxing on hammock

The Mental Health Advice My Mentor Gave That Changed My Life

I thought I knew all about how to manage mental illness. I’ve been in recovery for 15 years (though I’ve been mentally ill for 27). I’ve been in counseling off and on for 10 years. I’m currently studying to become a counselor so I’m learning more about mental illness and how to cope. I’ve started [...]