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What is the Meaning of Being “California Sober”?

demi lavato and california sober

I’m willing to bet many people have probably never heard of the term being “California Sober. However, this phrase has recently been brought to the spotlight by singer and actress Demi Lovato. Lovato did a recent documentary about her battle with addiction. In the documentary, she spoke of the term and how it means avoiding all addictive drugs except for “soft” substances like cannabis.

Definition of “California Sober”

“California Sober” is a practice rooted in harm reduction instead of absolutism. It is defined as a form of harm reduction that excludes the use of some substances, including alcohol, and only uses marijuana in moderation. Also sometimes known as being “Cali Sober,” “California Sober” typically describes a person who abstains from most drugs and alcohol with a few exceptions. However, the term isn’t the same for everyone; it has different meanings for different people. For most, anyone that is “California Sober” doesn’t mess with hard drugs like heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine. Instead, they use “softer” substances, including marijuana, LSD, or Psilocybin (magic mushrooms). Some individuals even choose to drink alcohol in moderation.

Demi Lovato on Being California Sober

In Lovato’s recent documentary “Dancing with the Devil,” she explains that being “California Sober” is a form of “balanced” sobriety that has helped her stay away from harder drugs. She explained that she has learned that “it has never worked for her to say that she will never use it again.” She stated that refraining from all substances was “setting herself up for failure because she is such a black-and-white thinker.” Since Lovato’s interview, the term has blown up on social media, and she has received a lot of backlash from both the California Sober community and the recovery community. Proponents of the California Sober lifestyle explain that being California Sober is a system of harm reduction that excludes all illicit, illegal, and prescription drugs and alcohol and only utilizes marijuana in moderation.

Does Being “California Sober” Work?

The term “California Sober” is different for everyone, and it’s not medically recognized or regulated. There is no way to know what two different people may consider okay being “California Sober.” The term has no clear meaning, criteria, or even scientific basis; it’s arbitrary. Addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disorder characterized by compulsive use of substances despite any harmful consequences. Repetitive drug use will often alter a person’s brain function to perpetuate cravings and undermine self-control. Suppose an individual desire ever successfully to recover from addiction. In that case, they must abstain from all mood and mind-altering substances unless prescribed and under the care of a physician, such as in medication-assisted treatment. Unfortunately, research says once a person has become addicted to drugs, returning to the use of any substances puts them at risk of backsliding. According to the AMA (American Medical Association), approximately 50% of people relapse within their first year of treatment. Also, refraining from all drugs except for alcohol and marijuana is risky behavior since alcohol and marijuana are listed as 2 of the most commonly used addictive drugs in the United States. However, staying away and abstaining from any substances is necessary for anyone in recovery. It is the best chance an individual has of improving their odds of maintaining sobriety long-term.

Evoke Wellness is Here To Help You Get on The Road to Long-Term Recovery

Evoke Wellness has a network of drug and alcohol treatment centers that are carefully designed to offer a lasting solution for healing those suffering from substance use disorders. We offer a safe and comfortable environment for medical detoxification. Our patients are treated extensively so that minimal discomfort is experienced during the detox process. Evoke Wellness provides residential treatment in a structured environment and then provides you with after-care support, which is very important when being treated for addiction. A sober life begins now! Call 866.429.2960 to speak to our team about treatment.