Dax Shepard is an American actor turned podcast host. Born in January 1975 near Detroit, Michigan, Dax shot to stardom with films like Let’s Go To Prison (2006), Hit and Run (2012), This Is Where I Leave You (2014) and The Judge (2014), among others.
In 2018, he launched his successful podcast, Armchair Expert, with cohost Monica Padman. The duo have interviewed countless household names, and Shepard has also opened up about his own experiences with counseling and being sexually abused.
Shepard has been especially candid about his struggles with addiction, substance abuse, sobriety and, more recently, his relapse. He isn’t alone in this experience, with research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggesting 40-60% of recovering drug addicts will relapse.
Dax Shepard’s History of Substance Abuse
In a 2012 interview with Playboy, Dax divulged that he had used and abused many substances prior to his years of sobriety. He cited marijuana, cocaine, Jack Daniels, diet pills and pain medication as just a few of his vices. Of nights when he would indulge in these substances, Shepard said, “I lived for going down the rabbit hole of meeting weird people … .”
He also notes his past behavior affected his relationship with his current wife, Kristen Bell, creating trust issues in their marriage. Dax has said, “All the things I’d done were terrifying to her, and she had a hard time believing I would ever be able to stay married.”
After 16 years of sobriety, Dax Shepard admitted in an episode of Armchair Expert in late 2020 that he had started taking opioids again. The podcast episode, entitled “Day 7,” revealed the struggles with addiction that Shepard had fallen back into after taking pain medication following a motorcycle accident.
In an Instagram caption promoting the podcast episode, Dax wrote, “An episode I hoped I’d never have to record, but one I felt I owed to all the beautiful Armcheries who have been on this ride with me for the last couple years.”
Dax Shepard Relapse
When Dax courageously went public with news of his relapse, he openly admitted to being uncomfortable sharing this information initially, fearing reactions from the public. In a January 2021 interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Shepard shared that he had concerns about speaking out about his relapse. He worried it might affect sponsorships on his podcast and other aspects of his professional life.
In the interview, Dax also admitted that one of his favorite things about being in the public eye is the esteem boost he gets from vocally sharing his sobriety story and podcast listeners confiding in him about their own struggles. Shepard told Ellen he was afraid going public might result in him losing that valued confidence from his listeners.
Dax noted that what changed his mind about sharing news of his relapse was a friend framing the situation to him differently. Dax realized that sharing his experience could help him connect with even more people. He could show them that even if you fall off the wagon, it’s possible to get back on and keep going.
In an important message to anyone struggling with addiction or relapses, Ellen commended Shepard on his honesty. She stated that nobody’s perfect and everyone makes mistakes or deals with personal demons. Understanding that it’s brave to admit you’re struggling is critical to changing the conversation and eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health and substance abuse.
It’s okay to be honest about what you’re going through, seek support from those in your life and ask for help. Treatment centers like FHE Health can also offer advice and assistance for addiction recovery.
Dax’s wife since 2013, Kristen Bell, also spoke to DeGeneres in October 2020 about her husband’s relapse, praising his response and desire for personal growth. Bell shared that Dax was forthcoming with her about falling back into the desire to use and communicated that he wanted her help coming up with a new plan for how to keep him sober.
“There’s a couple of common fallacies about sobriety. One being that people hit a bottom and then that’s that. Most addicts have many bottoms,” said Shepard in 2019. This speaks to the importance of the ongoing process of caring for your mental health and sticking to a treatment plan.
How Celebrities Inspire Change
Relapsing in the public eye is difficult because of all the media attention and opinions of followers on social media. But having the courage to share his experience has allowed Dax Shepard to inspire change through example. He demonstrates that even if you’ve been sober for over a decade, relapses can still happen.
Shepard also represents the hope that a relapse doesn’t mean a downward spiral but rather an opportunity to reassess your plan and how you’re going to prevent it from happening again as you move forward in life.
Kristen’s supportive response to her husband’s recent struggle allows others to see that being honest doesn’t necessarily have to garner judgment. It can forge a stronger relationship through honesty, trust and love.
As humans, we’re always stronger together, and it’s important for individuals dealing with addiction and substance abuse to understand they aren’t alone. Reaching out to a loved one for help is often the best way to pave a path to recovery.
Celebrities sharing their stories can help inspire all of us to embrace the human experience and realize no one is perfect. Everyone has moments of weakness or makes choices they regret. It’s how you handle those moments and recover from them that defines who you are.
Life After Treatment
“I’ve had a lot of friends that I’ve watched go through this whole cycle, and I finally have the humility to say I will not be any different,” said Dax Shepard about his relapse during an episode of Armchair Expert in late 2020. “I won’t be special. I won’t be smarter. I will be exactly like everyone else.”
Dax’s transparency highlights the fact that no matter who you are, celebrity or otherwise, everyone dealing with addiction and substance abuse experiences the same cycle. You’re never alone and can take comfort in that fact when the time comes to ask for help.
So is Dax Shepard sober again? As of the release date of his podcast episode divulging his relapse, Shepard posted on Instagram that he was 11 days sober. As he begins his sobriety journey all over again, he’s a reminder that there can be a fresh start after a relapse.
At FHE, we offer intensive inpatient treatment as well as an outpatient detox at our center in South Florida where your sobriety journey can start. With our caring, professional support, it’s possible to improve your health and well-being.