Entertainment Music Demi Lovato's Sister Madison De La Garza Says She Got Sober to Save Relationship with Her Mom "The world seems lighter and more colorful," the Desperate Housewives actress said Tuesday By Kirsty Hatcher Kirsty Hatcher Instagram Twitter Kirsty Hatcher is a Staff Writer at PEOPLE. She has over 8 years' experience reporting and writing on news genres, including Royals, Entertainment and Lifestyle. Prior to joining PEOPLE, Kirsty worked as a Senior Celebrity and Entertainment Writer and Editor at OK! Magazine and Reach PLC. She is based in the UK. People Editorial Guidelines Published on March 22, 2023 08:55 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Demi Lovato and Madison De La Garza. Photo: John Sciulli/Getty Images; Emma McIntyre/Getty Images Madison De La Garza is getting candid about her sobriety. Demi Lovato's younger sister, 21, opened up about why she decided to get sober in a new interview released Tuesday. "I feel free," the Desperate Housewives star told E! News in the sit-down, which was recorded on March 15. "The world seems lighter and more colorful." The actress revealed she is 248 days into her "journey of recovery" after substances were previously her "best friend." She said the turning point came when it started to alter her relationships with her friends and her mom Dianna De La Garza, 60, who she described as her "everything." Admitting she was "really struggling" before she got sober, she explained, "I went through a lot of things last year that made me want to stay in bed, made me want to hide from the world. My best friend was substances and it disconnected me from those around me. When I realized it started to affect my relationship with not only my friends, but specifically my relationship with my mom, that's when I knew I had to make a change." Demi Lovato Is a Protective Big Sister Says Madison De La Garza: 'She's Strong and a Free Spirit Demi Lovato and Madison De La Garza. Demi Lovato/Snapchat Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. De La Garza, who played Juanita Solis in Desperate Housewives, said things are "easier" now she's substance-free. "I just took a trip to New York and I wasn't panicking because I was tied down to a substance. I wasn't thinking, 'Oh, what if I can't use this? What if I don't have my crutch?'" she continued. She went on to explain to E! how Lovato, 30, who uses she/they pronouns and has been open about their ups and downs with addiction since first seeking treatment in 2010, inspired her to open up about her own issues with addiction. "I think most of what I've learned from her I've just watched through her experience and what she's done," she said. "She obviously gives me a lot of great sister advice, but I think it's more powerful to see her in action and especially seeing her tell her story. I've started to share my personal story and my issues with addiction and my journey and recovery I would have never, ever, ever done that if it wasn't for her. I think her honesty, her bravery and being 100% honest and open and being an open book, I think that is what drives me." Demi Lovato and Madison De La Garza. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Demi Lovato's Sister Madison Celebrates Singer's Birthday with Emotional Tribute on Instagram De La Garza added that the singer and actress has "been an example for me. Now I get to be that example for other people, and I could not be happier. I'm grateful for that." Lovato has gone to rehab several times for substance abuse, eating disorders and mental health concerns. In 2018 she experienced a near-fatal overdose that left them with long-term health complications. The "Sorry Not Sorry" singer told reporters in February 2021 while promoting their 2021 documentary, Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil, "I was left with brain damage, and I still deal with the effects of that today. I don't drive a car, because I have blind spots on my vision. And I also for a long time had a really hard time reading. It was a big deal when I was able to read out of a book, which was like two months later because my vision was so blurry." RELATED VIDEO: Demi Lovato Says Her Past Drug Use Was a 'Coping Mechanism': 'I Genuinely Was in So Much Pain' Lovato continued, "I dealt with a lot of the repercussions and I feel like they are still there to remind me of what could happen if I ever get into a dark place again. I'm grateful for those reminders, but I'm so grateful that I was someone that didn't have to do a lot of rehabbing. The rehabbing came on the emotional side." In August the star told Alternative Press they regretted documenting their recovery journey in multiple documentaries, which also included 2012's Stay Strong and 2017's Simply Complicated. "I wish I would have waited until I had my s--- figured out more because now it's cemented," Lovato said before clarifying their current relationship with substances. "Sobriety is what works for me and nothing else." If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.