Pop star Demi Lovato has long been speaking out about her past struggles when it comes to drug and alcohol addiction, an eating disorder and mental health issues. The former Disney star admitted there was a time when she thought she would not make it to age 21.
"I lived fast and I was going to die young," Lovato said. "I didn't think I would make it to 21."
Now, at 23, she has opened up about such challenges in the July edition of American Way magazine, recalling how she previously engaged in self-medication using alcohol, cocaine and OxyContin.
In 2010, the ‘Cool for the Summer’ singer went into rehab for three months, receiving diagnosis for bipolar disorder and treatment for bulimia.
Three years later, Lovato checked into a sober house, spending the rest of 2013 there. In an interview with Access Hollywood, the ‘Camp Rock’ actress recalled how she “couldn't go without 30 minutes to an hour without cocaine" and secretly brought some onto airplanes.
In her American Way feature, Lovato is said to have carried on with her involvement with the Alcoholics Anonymous, having had her last drink in January 2012.
This March, the Albuquerque native announced the news that she has been sober for four years already.
"This last year I experienced so much life and too much death... But I made it through... Sober," she wrote, using the hashtags, "#4Years #GodsWill.”
Lovato also recalled living with her parents who suffered physical and mental health issues of their own. While her father struggled with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and alcoholism, her mother and grandmother were also bulimic.
“Being around somebody who was 80 pounds and had an active eating disorder … it’s hard not to grow up like that,” the actress-turned-singer admitted.
Growing up, Lovato entered child beauty pageants, which she identifies as one of the underlying reasons for her insecurities, particularly “being onstage and judged for my beauty." She started binge-eating before the age of 12 and later on began gaining weight; during this period, she admits she was comparing herself to skinny girls.
Being bullied in school, Lovato also resorted to cutting herself.
These days, the award-winning singer continues her efforts to carry out a healthy workout program; she has also expressed her disapproval of the “thigh gap” trend and is raising awareness for support and acceptance of body image.
Her American Way magazine feature has also drawn attention to Lovato’s gratitude towards fans for inspiring her to move forward.
“When I have meet-and-greets, I can’t tell you the amount of times that girls will show me their arms covered in scars or cuts,” she shared. “They’ll tell me, ‘You helped me get through this. Because of you, I stopped self-harming,’ or ‘I got sober.’ Hearing those things gave my life new meaning.”
Lovato shared how she did not go into treatment believing she was going to become an inspiring role model.
"At times I was resentful for having that kind of responsibility," she said. "But now, it's really become a part of my life. It holds me accountable."