3. Rehab Didn’t Work the First Time
Lovato received inpatient treatment for the first time in 2010, but the incident with Welch led to a two-month “bender” when she was “using daily.” At 18 years old, she says, “I just came to a breaking point; the next 12 months were extremely difficult.” She left rehab with a “glow” that faded fast. “I wasn’t working my program. I wasn’t ready to get sober. I was sneaking it on planes, sneaking it in bathrooms, sneaking it throughout the night,” she says. “Nobody knew.”
One night, mixing cocaine and Xanax had near fatal consequences. “I started to choke a little bit, and my heart started racing. I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, I might be overdosing right now,'” she says. Her manager, Phil McIntyre, says she did interviews about her sobriety while high. “She was on air promoting this new way of life,” he says. “I was like, ‘You’re so full of it.'”
Lovato knew she was burning bridges. “I was using while I had a sober companion, and I went through like 20 sober companions. I was either craving drugs or on drugs. I was not easy to work with,” the “Heart Attack” singer says. “It’s embarrassing to look back at the person I was.”
4. She Spent Time in a Psych Ward
While in Palm Springs, Lovato’s specialist says the singer had to be hospitalized after locking herself in her bedroom and swallowing pills. “The nurse is checking her in. The bottle of pills is there, she grabs the pills, she then downs all the other pills and says, ‘You f–king bitch! If I just tried to kill myself, why would you give me access to pills?'” the specialist recalls. Lovato was admitted to the hospital’s psychiatric ward, but refused to get clean. “I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t feel guilty. I didn’t feel embarrassed,” she says. Lovato continued to use drugs in secret, and even faked drug tests using other people’s urine. “I’d lie straight to their faces,” she recalls.
At her lowest, Lovato invited two “random people” to party in her hotel room and got “really, really drunk” with them before a flight in 2012. “I was so drunk, I vomited in the back of the car service on the way to the airport to perform on American Idol,” she says. Lovato was hungover for the entire show. “I felt like that was a moment in my career where I didn’t care,” she admits. “I just knew that I needed to be high to get through whatever I was going through that point.”
Mike Bayer, Lovato’s personal-development coach, says he noticed a shift in Lovato after her management team threatened to fire her if she didn’t get sober. “The most important fear to Demi is losing people—losing people who she cares about and who love her,” he says. “That’s the most important thing to Demi.” As Lovato herself says in the documentary, “It wasn’t a matter of if they’re going to leave; it was they’re leaving. ‘There’s nothing more we can do for you.'” Taking her specialist’s advice, she turned over her cell phone to cut off access to drug dealers. But first, she smashed it on a plate and threw it in a vase of water. Her manager still has the destroyed device. “It was the beginning of the process of surrendering,” Lovato says.