Experts define ‘California Sober’ after Demi Lovato docuseries
Demi Lovato released a four-part docuseries ‘Dancing with the Devil’, which explains her struggles with drug and alcohol abuse, including her overdose in 2018 that almost took her life.
The singer shared that she’s doing better, but she’s not exactly sober right now. Instead, she explained that she’s ‘California Sober.’
“Historically, California sober came from a mentality of culture that took things easy when it came to substance and didn’t make a big deal out of it,” said Dr. Yaro Garcia, clinical coordinator at FGCU.
What exactly is California sober and does it work?
“Essentially, it’s a new way of explaining a certain type of sobriety that some people are practicing. For someone who’s had issues with alcohol, drugs or both, instead of complete abstinence this is someone who’s practicing being abstinence from certain drugs or certain substances, but perhaps continues to do something else. It could be medical marijuana or alcohol occasionally during certain events and so on,” said Dr. Garcia.
While the approach is controversial, Dr. Garcia said some people are able to manage ‘California Sober.’ Still, others can’t especially those with addictive patterns.
“There’s some research that shows that this does work for certain people having some sort of abstinence or practicing what works for them. Then of course it depends on when and how many times, and what substance the person is choosing to use. If you are practicing California sober and then you use heroin, that’s not going to work,” said Dr. Garcia.
For someone adopting the California sober approach, experts recommend to seek help from a treatment specialist to see if this is the best option for you.
“I will say that if someone is trying to practice this, they have to be very mindful of what happens after they do use. If I use medical marijuana and then I find myself wanting to drink for the next 7 days, that’s not working. The person needs to be very mindful if they are going to practice this to see whether or not it’s affecting them negatively after they use. If you’re planning to do this with a drug that causes physical dependence and physiological independence this is probably not a good idea,” said Dr. Garcia.
There’s not a ‘one size fits all’ — recovery is a long journey.
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