In her newest documentary Dancing With The Devil, Demi Lovato gets real about an episode in 2018 where she had an almost-deadly drug overdose. In it, fans got to see a different side of Demi on screen, where she is vulnerable and sincere. The artist reveals that growing up in the spotlight, problems with her birth father, and pressure from everyone around might have led her to relapse with alcohol and drugs. The 20-minute episodes can be a punch in the stomach for the truth Lovato presents.
- First episode: Losing Control
The episode mixes footage from an unreleased documentary filmed in 2018, that had to be put on hold because of the overdose, and new scenes shot in 2020. It also emphasizes the fact that Demi started her career at a very young age: at 7 she got a role on Barney And Friends, then, at 14, Camp Rock, and, at 17, Sonny With A Chance. Besides having to deal with fame, she also had a tough childhood: her deceased birth father was a non-present schizophrenic alcoholic and she suffered bullying in school until she became friends with a girl with whom she — still a teen — experimented with drugs and alcohol.
After years of fighting depression, eating disorders and substance abuse, Demi became an advocate for mental health issues, but that decision was, according to her sister Dallas, “hammered into her head”. The huge pressure of being a role model to many young people consumed the artist and made her feel like she had to be perfect at all times. However, there is no such thing as perfection, and Demi ended up relapsing.
- Second episode: 5 Minutes From Death
Disney Channel had intense moral clauses, so the teen star had to hide her private life — something she is still very good at today — to the point where she has done drugs without her concerned and controlling team knowing about it. When she was 18, Demi left the Camp Rock World Tour straight to rehab to deal with “emotional and physical issues”, which included an almost-overdose on the account of cocaine. After that, the singer stayed sober for six years and three months. The problem is, when you’re that young and start restricting your life, there will be a point where you want to enjoy your twenties and that’s what happened to Demi.
She saw no point in being sober anymore and one night, she had a drinking time with friends, which led to a phone call to her drug dealer. He offered hard drugs, like fentanyl — one of the most powerful and dangerous synthetics — and, on top of that, raped the artist, leaving her to overdose. Artist´s assistant at the time, Jordan Jackson, was the one to find her lying in bed the next morning when she called 911 and saved Demi’s life, which was about 5 minutes from ending. That night, Lovato had three strokes, a heart attack, and multiple organ failure. Her recovery was extraordinary, but she still has sequels from the trauma, like blind spots in her vision.
- Third episode: Reclaiming Power
It took me hours to watch this episode because I didn’t want to believe it. Talking about her recovery, Demi reveals that she has used heroin again within two weeks after the OD. With the same dealer that nearly killed her. That’s the hardest part of addiction: it never goes away. On the other hand, healing isn’t a linear process. She’s vulnerable now and it might take some ups and downs for her to achieve sobriety again. At least I hope she achieves it.
Unlike other times she had problems, Demi’s team has a different approach: they are supportive of her and open to acknowledging her relapses, creating a safe environment. During quarantine, the artist was able to digest the past years and made her comeback to the stages in the 2020’s Grammy, with an intense performance.
- Fourth episode: Rebirthing
Matthew Scott Montgomery, the artist’s best friend, says quarantine was her best moment yet. Demi took time to look inside, especially after breaking up her two-month engagement. She also states that she wants to embrace her queer self. Her eating disorder calmed down when the singer found the balance between food and exercises. Likewise, when asked if she’s sober now, Demi says that she’s following a moderation path — mostly weed and small doses of alcohol.
Although, the artist emphasizes that each case is different and she doesn’t encourage people to follow her steps. She’s also taking Vivitrol shots, which block the effect of opioids and keep her from wanting drugs. Demi is now in control of her life and doesn’t know how many opportunities she has left, so she will appreciate this one
Demi has been honest like never before in this documentary. It is crazy to think how many situations she was able to hide from the public eye throughout the years. That means while I was growing up with a smiling, funny girl in Sonny With A Chance, the real Demi was living a completely different life full of booze and drugs. She helped many fans — such as myself — with her powerful songs but she was going through so much more than anyone could’ve ever imagined. I think that’s why she decided to make the Dancing With The Devil documentary: to show the world that she’s not perfect — like she once tried to be — and that it’s okay to ask for help.
To watch the full series of episodes, click here.
This article was edited by Nicoly Bastos.
Liked this type of content? Check Her Campus Casper Libero home page for more.