Stepping off a private plane from the Bahamas on March 3 in Van Nuys, Calif., Demi Moore
seemed to be flaunting the telltale signs of a blissful vacation. Sporting a golden tan and a grin, Moore, 49, showed no hint of the drug and body-image issues that had driven her into hospitalization and rehab in January. "Demi was smiling," says an onlooker. "She looked like the old Demi-happy and refreshed."
It's a stark contrast to the woman who hit rock bottom just six weeks ago. After months of reckless partying and drastic weight loss, Moore collapsed into convulsions at her L.A. home. Multiple sources told PEOPLE that it was the result of an escalating addiction to prescription drugs. After being spirited off to rehab (rumors have flown that she sought help everywhere from Utah's Cirque Lodge to various facilities in Arizona), Moore has slowly begun to pick up the pieces since leaving treatment in February. She also opted for a vacation with friends that served as "a little reality break," according to the source. Those close to Moore see signs of improvement. "Demi is in a much better place," says one insider. "She has been working on herself a lot."
She's not going it alone. Aided by a close group of friends (see box), she also has the continued support of her daughters Rumer
, 23, Scout, 20, and Tallulah, 18. "They're just looking forward to having their happy and healthy mom back," says the insider. "It was very hard to watch her get hurt, but only she was capable of turning things around."
Among those who have met with Moore since her breakdown: her Kabbalah teacher-students of the Jewish mysticism are taught "to find your responsibility when dealing with your demons," says a source close to Moore's circle-and her ex-husband Ashton Kutcher
, 34, who went because "he knew it was important to her daughters," says another source. The Two and a Half Men
star, who has been quietly dating screenwriter Lorene Scafaria, 33, "doesn't want to seem unsympathetic to what the girls are going through. But he grew weary of Demi's issues a long time ago. Now he's just trying to live his own life."
Moore, of course, is trying to do the same. Although some addiction specialists caution that a monthlong stint in rehab is insufficient, Moore's supporters say they are hopeful that she is on the right path at last. "She is content," says a close source. "There's still a lot of work and self-healing to be done, but things have really shifted."
- Jennifer Garcia/L.A.,
- Elizabeth Leonard/L.A.,
- Aili Nahas/L.A.,
- Ulrica Wihlborg/L.A.,
- Linda Marx/Miami.