3/29/2021 – 

Editor’s note: Last week, we at Addiction & Recovery eBulletin reported on singer Demi Lovato’s decision to be “California Sober,” which entails imbibing “moderate” amounts of alcohol and marijuana. While neither we nor anyone else can take Ms. Lovato’s inventory – she alone can decide whether she is a full-fledged alcoholic or addict that must completely abstain from drugs and alcohol – we were concerned by this announcement.

For starters, as a pop music star, Ms. Lovato has outsized influence over young people – many of whom, like the rest of us, have or will develop troubling issues with drugs and alcohol. By her own admission, Ms. Lovato, who is just 28, has had three stokes, a heart attack and has nearly perished several times during relapses. Several people close to Ms. Lovato – including her manager, Scooter Braun, and the long-sober Elton John, who she has described as a recovery mentor – do not think the path of moderate drinking and drugging is a reasonable choice for Ms. Lovato. 

We are worried that young people will point to Ms. Lovato’s “Californian” sobriety as rationale for continuing to drink and drug despite harsh consequences they themselves may have endured. Ms. Lovato’s example has the potential to open trap doors in her fans’ addiction bottoms. Blessed with a platform to speak up, we cannot sit silent.

Also, our editorial team is based in California. As Californians who adhere to the conventional definition of sobriety – no inebriating substances, ever – we take umbrage with the hijacking of our state’s firm recovery reputation. After all, California is the most populous and industrious state in the country. Our example matters.

To showcase the impact both Ms. Lovato and our beloved Golden State have on the rest of the nation, we assigned an East Coast reporter – New Jersey-based Christopher Dale – to get a sense of the effect this news is having on recovery in his home state. The following is a transcript of a conversation between two members of Alcoholics Anonymous in beautiful Bayonne, New Jersey.

Hey how ya doin’? How’s ya ma? My cousin heard she fell and broke her hip. Madonn!

Anyway, you heard about this Demi Lovato chick? I picked up the Post last week to read about the Mets – goddamn bums – and saw that article about her. Says she’s California sober. Somethin’ about no drugs or drinking except for smokin’ weed. Oh and she says she drinks a little too.

I’m like ‘Hey, sign me up for summa that California sober,’ know what I’m sayin’? Some pretty nice perks they got for sober folks over there! I was out there once actually. Nice weather but the pizza and bagels are oogatz. And if you’re lookin’ for some decent gabagool it’s like fuhgeddaboudit.

Anyways this Demi chick gets me thinkin’. If she can be California sober, why can’t I be New Jersey soba?

I mean hey, if a 28-eight-year-old whose had three strokes and a heart attack and almost died a buncha times from drugs can handle a little pot and booze, why can’t I?

By the way, you heard that brand new songa hers? That Dancing with the Devil? Catchy tune! My niece can’t stop playin’ it – drives my sista nuts but whuddya gonna do. I love how the first verse is all about having a little red wine and being fine, and then the second verse is about smoking crack. What a toe tapper!

Sounds like someone poifectly capable of drinking responsibly. I’m all ‘Salut, Demi!’ I mean, just because you might influence a real drunk or junkie to go out and get loaded and maybe die, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your own thing. Ya gotta be you, ya know? I mean it’s not Demi’s fault my niece was clinically dead for 25 seconds from that fentanyl. Maybe next time she’ll just stick to wine and weed like Demi!Now, she did say that her ‘journey of moderation’ isn’t for everyone. So maybe she means once you’ve had four strokes and two heart attacks, it’s maybe time to call it quits. Or maybe when my niece has another brain aneurysm.

Anyways this Jersey soba thing. You want in? I mean, I know you’ve had some issues wit’ H in the past, and you just had that stroke – how’s your eyes by the way? Hey how many fingas am I holdin’ up? Just bustin’ your chops – but you been doin’ real good at those meetin’s. Me too. My collapsed lung is mostly better and I haven’t popped any of them pills in more than a year. Got my chip to prove it. Keep it in a place of honor: near the espresso maker. It was either that or the tomata garden. They’re comin’ in nice this year.

So yeah I been doin’ real good at them meetin’s. Even though I was speakin’ up there in Connecticut last week and I swear those medigans ain’t never seen no pisans before. I start talkin’ about missin’ a little grappa with my schviadel and they’re lookin’ at me like I got two heads. Probably too busy eatin’ noodles and ketchup.

Anyways I think this Jersey soba thing could really take off. Whuddya think?

What would it look like? Well for one thing, I think red wine with the macaroni and gravy is a given. I mean my God, we’re alcoholics, not savages. Am I right?

OK, so we’re good on red wine when we eat pasta. And pizza. Oh and lasagna, chicken parm or sausage and peppers. Done and done.

Also, if the Jets don’t start winning some games here – and let’s be honest, that ain’t gonna happen – we’re gonna need a few Bud Lights to keep us from trowin’ the remote through the TV. That reminds me: you call Vito about that deadbeat who won’t pay up?  Anyway OK, so red wine with the food, beer with football. Oh and baseball. And how ‘bout those Nets? Harden looks unstoppable. So yeah them too.

Oh and Mass wine. Hey, it’s the blooda Christ for Christ’s sake. Who the hell are we to pass that up? Now let’s talk weed. After all, it’s legal here just like in Cali. Those people think they know all about the weed, but they ain’t never had a Jersey Joint. It’s got marijuana leaves, hash and a few sprinkles of coke. Can’t beat it. Goes great with a nice glass of Chianti actually.  I gotta tell ya, I’m really liking this idea. Move over Jersey Shore and Jersey Mike’s. Make room for Jersey Soba.  I’m sure this will work out just great for Demi, too. I mean, who am I to take her inventory? What 28-year-old hasn’t had a few strokes and a heart attack?

And so what if she once said “this illness is not something that disappears or fades with time?” Who knows, maybe she meant COVID? How’s your uncle by the way? Still on the ventilata?

Anyways, so we got the red wine for the red sauce, beer for the sports and weed for … well, I guess wheneva. Let’s do it! Let’s get Jersey Soba. What could go wrong? Fuhgeddaboudit.

The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Addiction/Recovery eBulletin or its staff.


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