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An outspoken advocate for those recovering from addiction, Dax Shepard has been an inspiration to many. The popular star of comedy films and the award-winning drama Parenthood, Shepard has openly shared his journey through sobriety, which began when he was 29 years old.
This past week, though, Shepard’s inspirational messages of sobriety took an unfortunate turn, as he shared that he had recently suffered a relapse.
In his podcast “Armchair Expert,” Shepard revealed the news to his fans and listeners, stating that he had relapsed on the painkiller Vicodin. After experiencing pain in his hand and shoulder stemming from a motorcycle accident, he began taking the pills over a period of eight weeks, according to the podcast episode.
Speaking about the relapse, Shepard said he was, “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.”
Shepard is married to actress Kristen Bell, who has previously publicly expressed her support for her husband’s continued sobriety. Following this relapse, Shepard admitted he avoided telling his wife right away, carrying the secret for some time.
At the time of the podcast’s recording, Shepard revealed that he was seven days sober. In his conversation with his podcast co-host, he revealed that he was “proud” that he had not touched alcohol or cocaine, which were his drugs of choice during active addiction.
For Shepard, the road to sobriety began after an intense period of alcohol and drug abuse. In a 2012 interview with Playboy, he revealed the extent of his addictions, which were primarily to cocaine and alcohol, though he also abused opiates, marijuana, diet pills, and other substances.
While Shepard tried drugs in high school, his addiction did not take hold until he was 18. From that age, until he found sobriety at 29, his drug use led to “progressively dangerous” situations and unwise decisions. Through this period, though, Shepard’s star in Hollywood continued to rise, as he worked on projects like Punk’d, which brought newfound fame.
While outwardly successful, Shepard spoke once of hitting “rock bottom,” stating that, “There’s a couple common fallacies about sobriety. One being that people hit a bottom and then that’s that. Most addicts have many bottoms. I mean, I had many events that were even worse than the one that ended up being my last event.”
In 2004, Shepard recognized a need to change his ways, making the decision to become sober from substances. In 2007, he married Bell, and the couple has since had two daughters. Over the years of his sobriety, Shepard has spoken openly about his struggles to stay sober long-term, his parenting style as a sober father, and even his opinions on how he will talk to his daughters about drug use.
Through it all, Shepard’s candidness has resonated with his fans, making his announcement hit home for many. Days after he revealed his relapse to the public, Shepard indicated that he had received a tremendous amount of support, showing that the sober community is behind him all the way.
After sharing his progress and his journey, Shepard is ready to greet a new phase of sobriety. Maintaining long-term sobriety is a daily struggle—regardless of how many years have passed.
Shepard has learned about himself through the experience, and knows that his experiences are universal among addicts everywhere.
“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. I won’t be special. I won’t be smarter. I will be exactly like everyone else,” he said.
As he begins this new chapter, he stated that he has found solace and support in Alcoholic Anonymous, where his peers gave him “unconditional love.”
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