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Demi Lovato's New Song Reminds Us Addiction Is a ‘F***ing Disease’

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The last few years have been full of ups and downs for singer/superstar Demi Lovato, who is known for processing their very public battle with addiction through their music. Now, their latest song about addiction “Skin of My Teeth” goes back to their rock roots. The song isn’t just punk rock for being edgy — it’s calling out how we treat people with addiction head-on.

In the chorus, Demi declares: 

I am alive by the skin of my teeth, I survived but it got harder to breathe. Asking why doesn’t make it easier, go easy on me.

In these lines, Demi seems to be communicating how recovery is an uphill battle. Asking why they went back to treatment or relapsed doesn’t help them. Asking someone with addiction why they aren’t perfect and how they fell from grace again is like asking a patient with an illness why they aren’t better after treatment. Those questions aren’t helpful, and the why doesn’t always matter. 

The next part of the chorus hits it on the head:

G*dd*mn it, I just wanna be free, but I can’t cause it’s a f****ing disease.

Here, Demi expresses they feel like they won’t ever be fully free because addiction is a disease that needs to be treated. It is something they may have to live with for the rest of their life. There is something powerful about owning that. In the past, we’ve been exposed to false images about what it looks like to overcome and be “free of addiction.” The message that overcoming addiction is like escaping some evil world forever, that you have conquered it, and the battle is finished once you finally become sober is problematic.  

It’s a powerful statement: Demi says they want to be free from the pain that addiction has caused them, but they can’t because addiction is a disease. A disease that doesn’t have a one-time, fix-all cure. It doesn’t mean they are giving up or going back to their old ways — but Demi is acknowledging addiction is a journey they need to continue working on even when they’re sober.

In the lyrics of verse two, Demi sings:

I don’t need you to keep score. When I’m the one who’s at war.

People with addiction are the ones fighting every day. They are the ones who are at war. They don’t need us to treat their addiction like a game where we keep score for them. It can feel like friends and family have a microscope over those we love with an addiction, waiting to see when they will “fail” again. Look, you messed up again. Why did you fall from grace when you said you were better? But who made us the gatekeepers on how to play the game of overcoming addiction? 
During the bridge, Demi says:

I’m just tryin to keep my head above water. I’m your son and I’m your daughter. I’m just a product of the problem, I’m just trying to keep my head above water, I’m your mother, I’m your father.

Demi explains that addiction can affect more than just people in the spotlight. Look at your son, your daughter, look at your mother and father. They also could be dealing with addiction. They explain they are just a product of the problem of how we discuss and treat people with addiction. Look to your loved ones — how would you treat them if they did or do deal with addiction?

In an interview with Jimmy Fallon on Thursday, Demi shared they are proud they completed their upcoming album, HOLY FVCK, sober, and how empowering it was to make an album that make them feel fulfilled.   

No matter how we feel about Demi and other celebrities who are open about their addiction, how we talk about addiction matters. In her new song, Demi is powerfully taking the narrative back.

What do you think about Demi’s new song? Tell us in the comments below.

Lead image via Demi Lovato on YouTube

Originally published: June 14, 2022
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