What Demi Lovato Can Teach Us About Healing

Whether it’s through music or social media, Demi Lovato has long practiced transparency about her sobriety journey. Like many people recovering from substance use disorder, a very honest part of her healing includes experiencing relapses.

“I hate the binary of relapse because it suggests relapse is a failure,” says Katie Witkiewitz, Ph.D, Professor of Psychology at the University of New Mexico. “I see relapse as a learning opportunity and an expected part of the process.”

The reality is that after periods of sobriety and/or institutionalization, people still have highs and lows and may experience a relapse. Sentiments of loneliness, sadness, and numbness that they felt while using may return. Demi’s openness about her relapses is a clear example of healing being a nonlinear, uncomfortable, and sometimes ugly system — a welcome message for those recovering from substance use disorder out of the limelight.

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