The California Sober Trend and its Risks
Singer Demi Lovato recently went public about her recovery status after a near-fatal heroin overdose in 2018 caused by the drug fentanyl. She described her current lifestyle as “California Sober,” meaning that she continues to use cannabis and drink alcohol in moderation. This approach takes on harm reduction, allowing those with opioid use disorder to manage their substance use as they see fit, especially ones that are socially accepted or show low levels of addictiveness. While Demi made sure to be clear that this approach to recovery is not suitable for everyone, it has become a popular topic among those in the treatment and recovery community, so it’s important to understand more about it.
Harm Reduction Perspective
The ultimate definition of sobriety is to abstain from any substances with mind-altering effects and the potential for addiction. Demi’s method follows more of a “harm reduction” path, meaning that she employs self-managing strategies to control her intake of substances that don’t align with opioid use disorder. She believes that abstaining from all substances altogether is “setting herself up for failure” and thinks she can moderate her use of cannabis and alcohol without relapsing or developing multiple addictions.
The Dangers of “California Sober”
While Demi cautions that there is no one-size-fits-all recovery solution that will work for everyone, her method goes against what many experts in the addiction field suggest is best and most effective. A “California Sober” approach sees imbibing in alcohol and cannabis as much less threatening than using “harder drugs” that could potentially lead to fatal overdose and death, thus making them safer. However, many specialists feel that these “less harmful” substances can put people in recovery in a compromised state of mind, lowering their inhibitions and potentially causing cravings for other drugs. These situations increase the risk of relapse significantly, putting people in recovery in harm’s way.
A Long-Term Solution
Many people struggling with opioid use disorder have found success with medication-assisted treatment in an outpatient setting. The use of FDA-backed and evidence-based medications has empowered millions to take back control over their lives from opioid addiction without feeling like they need to use other substances casually. A dynamic approach that treats the patient as a whole also includes valuable substance use counseling that can help patients grasp a deeper understanding of what initially led them to substance misuse. It also allows them to build effective coping mechanisms for dealing with stress, triggers, and other emotions that will strengthen both physical and psychological well-being.
Substance use disorder treatment and recovery are different for everyone, as each individual who grapples with the disease has specific needs and requires a tailored approach. That’s why so many people have put their trust in facilities like AppleGate Recovery to help guide them through their journey to health and healing. With a team of experienced and compassionate staff and medical providers, every patient enrolled in treatment will receive personalized care that can give them the best possible chance at long-lasting recovery and freedom from addiction.