Demi Lovato’s mother, Dianna De La Garza, has decided to open up about her family’s battles with mental health and addiction in a heart-wrenching and heart-warming new memoir, Falling with Wings: A Mother’s Story. In the book, Dianna talks about her famous daughter’s tortured path to success, her turbulent relationship with Demi’s father and her own recovery from anorexia, depression and Xanax addiction.
“I wanted to share this story because I thought there might be people out there who might be going through some of the same things that my family was going through,” Dianna told People. “It might help them in some ways.”
The 55-year-old mom is proud of her 25-year-old daughter, who has been open about her struggles with bipolar disorder, bulimia and substance abuse. And it seems that the feeling is mutual.
“I’m so proud of my mom for achieving something she’s always wanted to do — tell her story,” Demi said to People. “She’s resilient, inspiring and strong. Because of her journey and strength to overcome the obstacles that she’s faced in her life, she is my hero.”
Here are six excerpts from Dianna’s upcoming book which she hope will enlighten people about addiction and mental health issues.
1. You can’t change others, especially if they are an addict or violent.
“I thought I could change him, and I think victims of domestic abuse often feel the same way,” Dianna said about Demi’s father. “You’re not always going to be able to change someone, no matter how much you want to. There may come a point where your love for that person may not be enough to keep you safe. I didn’t feel like we were safe anymore. I knew I had to get out. It broke my heart to realize that my girls had seen and heard so many things that must have terrified them. Starting over as a single mom was hard. But I finally felt free.”
2. Sometimes we ignore the obvious signs that our loved ones are in trouble.
“One day Dallas [Demi’s sister] came running into the dining room looking alarmed. ‘Demi is visiting some really weird websites about anorexia and bulimia.’ I sighed. ‘She probably got on them by mistake.’ I’m horrified when I look back. Sometimes we so desperately want to believe the best about our children that we ignore the obvious.”
3. It’s important to focus on getting your family the help they need.
“That was the defining moment where we all said, as a family: ‘She needs help. She needs serious help. And it doesn’t matter what happens to her career — we need to focus on getting her the help she needs,'” Dianna said of the moment that she and Eddie, Demi’s step-father, begged her to get help. “Maybe everyone would be better off if I wasn’t here anymore,’ she sighed, alarming us. In that moment, I didn’t see an 18-year-old young woman clinging to her career; I saw a child who was exhausted and afraid.” Afterwards, Demi checked herself into a rehab in Chicago. “As the intake counselor asked questions, I heard more than a few shocking revelations. When she asked about drugs, my jaw dropped. ‘Cocaine, pot, and Adderall,’ Demi said. My blood ran cold.”
4. You also need to focus on your own mental health and wellbeing.
“I just had this breakdown,” Dianna said, nothing that she has struggled with anorexia and had become addicted to Xanax and felt weighed down by depression and suicidal thoughts. “My girls came to me and said, ‘Mom, we’ve gotten help, and we’re doing good — now it’s your turn.’ They did this intervention with me, they packed my bags for me, and they bought my ticket. Those things combined really were what set our family on the path to becoming me.”
5. Support your family when they finally seek help.
“That’s when she took her phone, smashed it and put it in a glass of water, as a sign that she was ready to commit,” Diana said of the moment when Demi relapsed and had a “come-to-Jesus” moment after Dianna told her that she could no longer see her younger sister Madison so long as Demi continued using. “She gave up her phone, her car keys, her credit cards, she entered a sober living house and completely followed the program. She’s never looked back.”
6. Continue to do what’s best for your mental health, and be a role model.
“I used to think that her thing in life was going to be young girls looking up to her because she’s such a great singer. But her purpose is so much bigger. I’m proud Demi is an advocate for mental health and positive body image — she’s a role model because of what she’s been through and where she is today.”