Why Demi Lovato Felt She Was in “Walking Coma” After 2018 Overdose

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Demi Lovato Opens Up About Effects of Her 2018 Overdose

Demi Lovato is getting candid about the struggles she faced after her near-fatal drug overdose in 2018.

The “Skyscraper” singer reflected being “California sober,” a term commonly used to describe someone who uses cannabis but avoids other drugs, years after the harrowing incident. Though Lovato said in her 2021 docuseries Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil—which addressed her past heroin addiction and overdose—that she was “smoking weed and drinking in moderation” as a part of her recovery journey, the 31-year-old now sees how it wasn’t exactly the best laid plan.

“I had to learn it on my own,” she shared during her Sept. 11 appearance on The Howard Stern Show, revealing that she ended up “smoking so much weed and taking edibles, sometimes 300mg at a time” instead. “All I did was replace my addiction with something I thought was safer.”

Explaining how she was also struggling with weight gain at the time, Lovato recalled being in a “deep depression” and feeling a “profound sadness.”

“I was hiding in my room, not wanting to go outside because I didn’t want anyone to see me,” she continued. “I wasn’t experiencing life. I ultimately was in this walking coma, where I wasn’t feeling any pain but I also wasn’t feeling any joy.”  

Lovato cut all substances from her life in late 2021, going into treatment and sharing on her Instagram Stories that “sober sober is the only way.”

Christopher Polk/Variety via Getty Images

Looking back, Lovato acknowledged how being “California sober” was a slippery slope back into her addiction struggles. “Smoking and drinking led me back to other substances,” she told host Howard Stern of her decision to go fully sober. “Abstinence has been the key for me.”

Elsewhere in the interview, the Disney Channel alum opened up about the lingering effects of her overdose that she wrestles with to this day. “I still actually have vision problems,” she shared. “I don’t drive anymore because I have blind spots in my vision.”

However, Lovato noted that she’s not necessarily angry with herself and now tries to “stay in the present moment” where she’s much happier in life.

Christopher Polk/Variety via Getty Images

“A lot of people ask me, ‘Do you have any regrets in life?'” she said. “A lot of times I start to answer like, ‘Yeah, I wish I didn’t overdose because it I have hearing impairment, I have vision impairment and that was just an awful thing to put my family and friends through.’ But I also have to remember the importance of not living in the past and not having regrets for things.”

Lovato added, “I try to remain positive and have a healthy perspective on what happened to me.”

Keep reading for on Demi and other celebs’ sobriety journeys.

Nina Westervelt/Variety via Getty Images

Tom Holland

The Spider-Man: No Way Home star stopped drinking alcohol in 2022 after feeling “enslaved” to the drink. “I was definitely addicted to alcohol, not shying away from that at all,” Holland recalled on the On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast. “I think that anyone that has a beer everyday has probably got a little bit of a problem.”

“And then you would just reach that moment where you’re like ‘Wow, I shouldn’t have had that last beer,'” the actor continued. “And you wake up the next day and you have a terrible headache.”

Since making the lifestyle change, Holland noticed he “could sleep better” and “handle problems better.”

“Things that would go wrong on set that would normally set me off, I could take in my stride,” he shared. “I had so much such better mental clarity. I felt healthier. I felt fitter.”

David Livingston/Getty Images

Demi Moore

While accepting the 2018 Woman of the Year Award by the Peggy Albrecht Friendly House, a residential program for women recovering from substance and alcohol abuse, Moore spoke about the “self-destructive path” that nearly derailed her career. 

“I feel like there’s a defining moments in our lives that shape who we are and the direction we go and early in my career, I was spiraling down a path of real self-destruction and no matter what successes I had, I just never felt good enough,” the star recalled. “I had absolutely no value for myself and this self-destructive path, it very quickly brought me to a real crisis point and it wasn’t clear at the time the reason. Maybe it was divine intervention.” 

Moore, who sought treatment in 2012, thanked two unnamed people she “barely knew” for delivering something of an ultimatum to her to turn her life around. “Unless I was dead, I better show up,” she quipped, adding that she was given “a chance to redirect the course of my life before I destroyed everything.”

“Clearly they saw more of me than I saw of myself,” Moore noted. “And I’m so grateful because without that opportunity, without their believing me, I wouldn’t be standing here today.”

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Matthew Perry

The Friends star revealed in 2022 that he had spent about $9 million trying to get sober after getting hooked on alcohol  and drugs at a young age. His addiction struggles began at age 14, when he started drinking Budweiser and Andrès Baby Duck, before he started dabbling in drugs like Vicodin, Xanax and OxyContin.

“I would fake back injuries. I would fake migraine headaches. I had eight doctors going at the same time,” Perry said in a 2022 profile in The New York Times, marking 18 months of sobriety. “I would wake up and have to get 55 Vicodin that day, and figure out how to do it. When you’re a drug addict, it’s all math. I go to this place, and I need to take three. And then I go to this place, and I’m going to take five because I’m going to be there longer. It’s exhausting but you have to do it or you get very, very sick.”

He noted, “I wasn’t doing it to feel high or to feel good. I certainly wasn’t a partyer; I just wanted to sit on my couch, take five Vicodin and watch a movie. That was heaven for me. It no longer is.”


Noah Cyrus

Cyrus shared in 2022 that she’s been in recovery for her Xanax addiction since 2020. “It gave me so much structure in the time that I really needed structure, because I didn’t want to just be sitting around and stirring in my brain,” she told Rolling Stone. “It gave me hope.” 

The singer added, “Once I felt that it was possible to silence things out for a second and numb your pain, it was over.”

She said her friends at the time “kind of cosigned” her drug use and “it just kind of becomes this dark pit, bottomless pit.” But, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cyrus said she was noticing challenges and felt she wasn’t emotionally present. “I was completely nodding off and falling asleep,” she recalled. “And unable to keep my head up or keep my eyes open, because I was so far gone.”

She eventually sought help and noted that “it took some time to get on my own two feet.”

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Dax Shepard

The Parenthood alum was sober for 16 years before relapsing in 2020 by taking Vicodin after a motorcycle accident. 

“For the last eight weeks maybe, I don’t really know…I’m on them all day,” he said on his Armchair Expert podcast. “And I’m allowed to be on them at some dosage because I have a prescription and then I’m also augmenting that.”

“And I hate it,” he continued. “And I’m lying to other people. And I know I have to quit. But my tolerance is going up so quickly that I’m now in a situation where I’m taking, you know, eight 30s a day, and I know that’s an amount that’s going to result in a pretty bad withdrawal. And I start getting really scared, and I’m starting to feel really lonely. And I just have this enormous secret.” 

Courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood

Jamie Lee Curtis

In 2018, the Halloween star got very candid about her stealthy 10-year addiction to opiates that began in the late ’80s after a minor plastic surgery “for my hereditary puffy eyes,” resulting in a prescription that changed her life. “I had a 10-year run, stealing, conniving,” she told People. “No one knew. No one.”

When her sister Kelly visited her in the summer of 1998 and brought along prescribed painkillers for a rib injury, Curtis said she hit her rock bottom. “I knew she had them in her suitcase in our guest room closet,” she told the publication, crying at the memory. “I basically took all her opiates. When she was leaving I knew she would pack her suitcase and find her pills missing. I knew I had to acknowledge to her what I had done, and so I wrote her a note and left it on her suitcase. I came home that day, and she put her arms around me and told me she loved me and she was concerned about me and she was unwilling to watch me kill myself.”

She attended her first meeting on Feb. 3, 1999, the same day she revealed her struggle to her filmmaker husband Christopher Guest. “He was incredulous that he’d never noticed,” Curtis said, adding that she’s been sober ever since.

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Drew Barrymore

Barrymore, who previously went to rehab for alcohol and drug addiction, shared in 2021 that she was marking a big milestone in her journey. “I’m just going to say something for the first time in a long time: I have not had a drink of alcohol in two and a half years,” she said on CBS Mornings. “And it was something that I realized just did not serve me in my life.”

She added, “It’s so funny. When we reveal ourselves and our truths and the things we’ve worked so hard for, it’s so liberating and vulnerable all at the same time.” 

Barrymore later explained to the Los Angeles Times ithat she doesn’t use the “sober” label because she doesn’t want people to think she’s “some perfect Puritan.”

“I kept thinking, ‘I’ll master this. I’ll figure it outm,'” said in 2023. “And finally, I just realized: ‘You’ve never mastered this, and you never will.'”

Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Bradley Cooper

The A Star Is Born actor struggled with a cocaine addiction during the early aughts before Will Arnett⁠, who was then-married to his friend and Wet Hot American Summer costar Amy Poehler⁠, stepped in and confronted him out about his behavior.

“That was the first time I ever realized I had a problem with drugs and alcohol⁠,” Cooper recalled during a 2022 appearance on the Smartless podcast. “I’ll just never forget it.”

Crediting Arnett as “the reason” he went sober, Cooper added, “He took that risk of having a hard conversation with me that put me on a path of deciding to change my life.”

Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Brad Pitt

The Fight Club spent years struggling with alcohol before fellow star Bradley Cooper helped him get sober. “I got sober because of this guy,” he told the audience at the 2020 National Board of Review Annual Awards after Cooper presented him with a trophy. “And every day’s been happier ever since.”

Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF

Ryan Phillippe

In September 2023, the Cruel Intentions actor shared on Instagram that this was “the longest I’ve gone since I was a teen without some kind of nicotine or marijuana in my system (among other things).”

“Feeling thankful for the freedom that comes with breaking addictions and dependency on substance,” he added. “Sobriety, clarity, and spiritual connectedness feels real good.”

Brad Barket/Getty Images for Fast Company

Kanye West

During his incendiary 2018 interview on TMZ Live, the rapper revealed that his 2016 hospitalization happened while in the throes of an opioids addiction. “Two days before I was in the hospital, I was on opioids. I was addicted to opioids,” he said. “I had plastic surgery because I was trying to look good for y’all. I got liposuction because I didn’t want y’all to call me fat like you called Rob [Kardashian] at the wedding and made him fly home before me and Kim got married. I didn’t want y’all to call me fat, so I got liposuction, right?”

West said he was given opiods after the procedure and he “started taking two of them and driving to work” while on the drug.

“There was talks amongst my camp like, ‘Ye’s popping pills.’ So when he handed it to me, he said, ‘You know used to killed genius, right?’ So I didn’t take it,” he continued. “Two days later, I’m in the hospital. I was taking two pills a day at that time. When I left the hospital, how many pills you think I was given? Seven. I went from taking two pills to taking seven. So the reason why I dropped those tweets and everything ’cause I was drugged the f–k out, bro.”

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Demi Lovato

While the singer has always been very open about their battles with drug and alcohol addictions—publicly celebrating six years of sobriety on their tour in 2018—they stunned fans later that year with the release of the confessional single “Sober,” which revealed that they had relapsed.

“Mama, I’m so sorry I’m not sober anymore / And Daddy please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor / To the ones who never left me / We’ve been down this road before I’m so sorry, I’m not sober anymore,” they sang.

Exactly a month later, Lovato was hospitalized for a near-fatal overdose after what sources described as a long night of partying. “I have always been transparent about my journey with addiction,” they wrote on Instagram two weeks later. “What I’ve learned is that this illness is not something that disappears or fades with time. It is something I must continue to overcome and have not done yet…I now need time to heal and focus on my sobriety and road to recovery. The love you have all shown me will never be forgotten and I look forward to the day where I can say I came out on the other side. I will keep fighting.” 


Jada Pinkett Smith

The Girls Trip actress has never been one to shy away from any topic that might be deemed a sensitive area by most on her Facebook Watch show Red Table Talk. And in 2018, she recalled battling her addictions to sex and alcohol. “My sort of addictions jump. They jump around. When I was younger, I definitely think I had a sex addiction of some kind, yes, that everything could be fixed by sex,” she said, before sharing about the time she realized she’d developed a troubling drinking problem.

“I remember reaching a rock bottom that time I was in the house by myself and I had those two bottles of wine and was going for the third bottle,” she said. “And I was like, ‘Now hold up. You’re in the this house by yourself going onto your third bottle of wine? You might have a problem.'”

“So I went cold turkey. That’s the thing about me: I can go cold turkey. I am a binger, and I always have to watch myself and I can just get obsessed with things,” she continued. “It’s not what you’re doing but how you’re with it. Why you’re doing it. It’s the behavior that’s attached to it because if you want to have a lot of sex, that’s great, but why are you having all that sex? That’s what you’ve got to look at.”


Wendy Williams

In 2018, the talk show host sat down with Entertainment Tonight to discuss her struggles with cocaine addiction during her days on the radio. “I was a functioning addict though,” she told the outlet. “I would report to work on time and I walked in and all of my coworkers, and including my bosses, would know but instead of firing me, you see, I would grab my headphones and arrogantly walk into the studio and dare them fire me because I was making ratings.”

She added, “It’s a miracle I was able to stop.”

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AJ Mclean

The Backstreet Boys member tried drugs for the first time before filming the music video for 2000’s “The Call,” telling Good Morning America years later that he “was off the walls” during the shoot. He went sober in 2021 and saw numerous positive benefits just one year later, including losing 32 pounds in seven months by cutting out alcohol and fast food.

“Drinking caused weight gain,” he told Today in September 2022, “but it also weighed down my mental state.”

Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Bow Wow

After the sudden death of Mac Miller, the rapper and actor—born Shad Moss—took to Twitter to let his fans know that he’d once struggled with a cough syrup addiction. “To the youth- Stop with these dumb ass drugs,” he began his series of tweets. “Im going to let something out. When me and Omarion worked on FACE OFF album. I was high off lean everyday! When yall saw me on BET going off on Torae i was high off lean. My attitude everything changed. My fans started to…Turn on me my family too. I never promoted lean in my songs. The whole time i was on the UCP tour with Chris [Brown] I WAS SIPPING 4’s atleast 7 times a day. I was addicted until our show in Cincinnati.. i came off stg and passed out woke up in the hospital i was having withdraws.”

“I never felt a pain like that ever,” Bow Wow continued. “It was summer but i was walking round with 3 hoodies on because i was so cold. I missed the chicago show of that tour baltimore show BECAUSE I WAS F–KING HIGH AND SICK!!!! that s–t is not cool and i was doing it to be cool! Kick that s–t! Be a good son or daughter. Be the best you. Ima start being more vocal. We gotta save the youth from going out early. Parents watch your kids. Explain to them. We want yall to live man. I almost died f–king with syrup.”

“To this day im affected my stomach will…Never be the same and it hasnt been. DRUG FREE IS THE WAY TO BE! smarten up tighten up out here,” he told his fans. “We cant lose no more of you. Not one! I love all yall. The young artist all the kids around the world.. dont follow a trend. Break the cycle. PEACE.”

Ricky Vigil M/Justin E Palmer/GC Images

Lily Allen

With the dual releases of her fourth studio album No Shame and memoir My Thoughts Exactly, the singer spent much of 2018 getting brutally honest about the height of her addition problems. According to Allen, she was abusing cocaine and drinking to the point of being “parisitically drunk” during the difficult time that Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin staged an intervention after she accidentally headbutted Orlando Bloom at Kate Hudson‘s Halloween party and knocked herself out.

She told The Guardian, “Nothing seemed to reach or satisfy me. I remember waking up one morning in those dark days thinking, ‘Maybe it’s time for heroin, because nothing else is working.'”

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Dennis Quaid

The Parent Trap actor famously battled a cocaine addiction throughout the ’80s that brought him to rehab in 1990. As he later explained on Today, he grew up in the ’60s and ’70s when “there was a completely different attitude” towards the drug. 

“It was even in some movie budgets. I was basically doing cocaine pretty much on a daily basis during the ’80s,” he admitted in 2018. “I spent many, many a night screaming at God to ‘Please take this away from me and I’ll never do it again, cause I’ve only got an hour before I have to be at work.’ Then at 4 o’clock in the afternoon I’d go, ‘Oh it’s not so bad.'”

“I had what I call a white light experience where I saw myself either dead or losing everything that meant anything to me,” he continued. He had to sit down then-fiancée Meg Ryan and explain what was going on. Then, he sought help. “That was the end of the love affair with me and cocaine.”


Ryan Lochte

After an incident in Newport Beach where the Olympic swimmer tried to kick in his own hotel room door, Lochte made the decision to seek treatment in 2018. “Ryan has been battling from alcohol addiction for many years and unfortunately it has become a destructive pattern for him,” his rep told E! News in a statement. “He has acknowledged that he needs professional assistance to overcome his problem and will be getting help immediately.”

“Ryan knows that conquering this disease now is a must for him to avoid making future poor decisions, to be the best husband and father he can be, and if he wants to achieve his goal to return to dominance in the pool in his 5th Olympics in Tokyo in 2020,” the statement concluded.

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Simon Pegg

The Mission: Impossible actor opened up about his struggles with alcoholism in 2018, sharing that it all started when self-medicated his depression by drinking. “When I watch [2006’s Mission: Impossible III] back, I can see where I was then, which was fairly lost, and unhappy, and an alcoholic,” he told The Guardian of his “crisis years.”

“One thing [addiction] does is make you clever at not giving anything away. People think junkies and alcoholics are slovenly, unmotivated people. They’re not—they are incredibly organised. They can nip out for a quick shot of whisky and you wouldn’t know they have gone. It’s as if … you are micro-managed by it,” he added. “But eventually the signs are too obvious. You have taken the dog for one too many walks.”

He had hoped the birth of his daughter Matilda in 2009 would help him snap out of it. “It was the most cosmic experience of my life,” Pegg said. “I thought it would fix things and it just didn’t. Because it can’t. Nothing can, other than a dedicated approach, whether that’s therapy or medication, or whatever.”

Wes and Alex for iHeartMedia

Brantley Gilbert

The best-selling country star has been sober for more than seven years now, but it was a hard-fought road getting there. His addiction to booze and pain pills began soon after graduating from high school and didn’t abate when his career began to take off. He kept a black leather laptop bag filled with bottles of Jagermeister or vodka “at arm’s reach at all times,” he told previously revealed to People, adding that throughout the day, “every hour and a half to two hours it’d be time to get two or three good pulls on the bottle. And every three or four hours it’s time for a pill or two.” 

And it had no effect on his success. “It wasn’t like I was stumbling around all day,” he admitted. “I was fully functioning — I wrote more songs then than I do now. That was the scary part.”

In late 2011, he was hospitalized with pancreatitis and was told that if he didn’t stop drinking, he wouldn’t see his next birthday. “I still put it off and was trying to slow down on my own, like, ‘All right I’m only gonna let myself take two pills today. I’m only gonna drink this much of my bottle and make a mark on the bottle,'” he recalled. “And it would work a couple days—and then somebody throws a party.”

He eventually sought help, entering rehab on Dec. 18, 2011. “I got to the point where I knew it was something I couldn’t do on my own,” Brantley said. “Pissed me off to no end and embarrassed me. I’m a pretty strong-willed person but that was the one thing in my life that I couldn’t get to stick.”

Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

Kirstie Alley

The late Cheers vet was vocal about her cocaine addiction and, during her run on the UK’s popular Celebrity Big Brother, she revealed the turning point in her addiction. “I had my niece and nephew when they were young and they were over at my house, and I went upstairs and I was snorting coke,” she told her housemates. “Then I came down and I was taking care of them, and I thought, ‘My god.’ I’m up there snorting coke and coming down and taking care of these babies. This is horrible.'”

“I called my sister and I lied and said, ‘I don’t feel good, can you come and get the kids?’ And she did,” she added. “I had stepped over the line.” From that day on, she never touched the drug again and “never wanted to, which is good.”

She died in 2022 at age 71 following a short battle with cancer.

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