Dax Shepard Opens Up About His Relapse
During the Sept. 25 episode of Armchair Expert, the 45-year-old actor shared he’d relapsed and had been taking opioids.
“Eight years into sobriety, I had not done a single shady thing,” he said. “I hadn’t done anything gray.”
At that time in 2012, he had been traveling back and forth to visit his dad, who was undergoing cancer treatment at a hospital. It was around this time that he also suffered a motorcycle accident on his way to the Parenthood set.
“I immediately called my sponsor, and I said, ‘I’m in a ton of pain and I gotta work all day. And we have friends that have Vicodin,'” Shepard recalled. “He said, ‘OK, you can take a couple Vicodin to get through the day of work, but you have to go to the doctor, and you have to get a prescription, and then you have to have Kristen [Bell] dole out the prescription.'”
Shepard agreed and followed the guidance. However, not long after, he flew back out to see his dad and—because his wife wouldn’t be with him—traveled without the pills.
While there, he ended up giving his ailing father some Percocet. For his part, Shepard said he himself took double what his other prescription was. “You know, we had so little in common and so much f–king friction,” Shepard recalled. “But the no. 1 thing we had in common was we were both f–king addicts and we had never used anything together. And we sat there stoned and looked at the lake. And in that moment, I felt elation and I was just happy.”
Kristen Bell & Dax Shepard Talk Family Motorcycle Rides
Later, Bell surprised him where Shepard was with his dad to offer her support, and Shepard admitted he had relapsed. While she told him he needed to call someone from Alcoholics Anonymous, she knew he had been experiencing a lot of pain from his motorcycle accident and that he’d been dealing with the stress of his dad’s health.
“That was eight years ago,” Shepard continued, later adding, “I’ve now had this experience where I did that, I felt bad, but there wasn’t any fallout from it. It was like, I felt bad, I said I felt bad, and then I did just move on and it was fine.”
After Shepard got hurt again, he was once again administered pills. However, because they kept him up at night, he decided to save them and take them on his own.
“That cycle happens maybe three or four more times,” he recalled. “I feel shady, but I don’t feel like this is a problem. I didn’t desire more when the thing was over.”
As life has it, Shepard continued to suffer more injuries, now having undergone seven surgeries. “I go ride a lot,” he explained. “After I ride sometimes on the track, I feel I’m entitled to take two Vicodin at the end of the day because I am in pain. That again doesn’t feel that crazy.”
After his last go-around of injuries, starting about six months ago, he noticed he started “getting shadier and shadier.”
“And I’ve not ever yet bought them,” he said. “And then I do…For the last eight weeks maybe, I don’t really know…I’m on them all day. I’m allowed to be on them at some dosage because I have a prescription. And then I’m also augmenting that. And then all the prescriptions run out and I’m now just taking 30 mil Oxys that I’ve bought whenever I decide I can do [it].”
Dax Shepard Needs Surgery After Breaking 4 Ribs
Because Shepard felt like he was still managing all of his day-to-day responsibilities, he thought everything was fine. Then, his co-host Monica Padman confronted him—and he started lying to her. “And I’m lying to other people and I know I have to quit,” he confessed. “But my tolerance is going up so quickly that I’m now in a situation where I’m taking, you know, eight 30s a day, and I know that’s an amount that’s going to result in a pretty bad withdrawal. And I start getting really scared, and I’m starting to feel really lonely. And I just have this enormous secret.”
And while Shepard created a schedule to start taking fewer pills, he admitted he hadn’t been following through. “I now start getting pretty visibly detoxy and withdrawly,” he said. “And I lie and start saying I’m having an arthritis flare up.”
Then, less than two weeks ago, Shepard and Padman were in the car and he knew he had to tell her the truth. “I’m gaslighting you and I know I am,” he told her, recalling his behavior. “And I’m making you feel crazy and I’m making Kristen feel crazy.”
So, he called them together and told them everything. He also apologized to them for lying and asked for help. “My fear was that if I have one day, I’m going to drink and I’m going to do coke,” he said. “I haven’t drank a beer in 16 years and I haven’t snorted a line in 16 years. And if I have one day, then I might as well f–king have what I really want and then start over. And my fear of that is if I do that, it may take me three years to get that back in the cage and I may die.”
“I just know what I’m like on those two things,” he admitted. “And again, it’s very hard for me to know what part of this is, like, my addiction and what great stories I tell myself of reasons why I can’t just be f–king humble and say I failed.