You know Dax Shepard. He's an actor, comedian, and podcast host — and he's married to Kristen Bell.
During an episode of his podcast, Armchair Expert, the 45-year-old actor shared that he had recently relapsed and had been taking opioids.
Before the episode went live, Dax wrote on Instagram, "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 began the podcast by opening up about the first time he encountered an issue with opioids.
“So eight years into sobriety [from alcohol and cocaine], I have not done a single shady thing. There was nothing gray,” Dax said during the episode. But in 2012, Dax was in a motorcycle accident and his father had been diagnosed with cancer.
“I immediately called my sponsor and I said, ‘I’m in a ton of pain [from the accident] and I got to work all day, and we have friends that have Vicodin.’ And he said, ‘Okay, you can take a couple Vicodin to get through the day at work, but you have to go to the doctor, and you have to get a prescription, and you have to have Kristen dole out the prescription.’”
But the problem arose when Dax was in charge of giving his father his pain medicine. "So I give him a bunch of Percocet and then I go, 'I have a prescription for this, and I was in a motorcycle accident, and I’m gonna take some too,'” he said.
So he called Kristen:
She’s like, “You clearly need to call someone in AA, but I would say you’re fucked up from this accident. You got high with your dad — keep it moving. You don’t need to redefine it. You didn’t lose eight years,” which was so comforting.
That was eight years ago.
This year, Dax got hurt again — he broke his hand in an ATV accident. "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."
This time, Dax said, he is buying the pills. "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," he said. "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]."
He continued, "I'm lying to other people, and I know I have to quit. 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."
Dax added, "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."
He said, “Day one, when I’m supposed to step down, I’m like, 'I wasn’t anticipating that this was already going to feel bad after just one less,' so I don’t step down the first day, and then I don’t step down the second day. And now I’m really panicking.”
He added, "I now start getting pretty visibly detoxy and withdrawally. And I lie and start saying, 'I'm having an arthritis flare-up.'"
Dax's biggest fear, though, was relapsing with alcohol and cocaine. "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 fucking 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."
Eventually, Dax told Kristen, his cohost and his best friend, about his relapse. He went to a meeting — which he called the "most incredible 90 minutes" — and now said he feels humble and hopeful.
And it looks like Dax is at peace with starting over. Nearing the end of the podcast, he said, "Today I have seven days."
I've never heard a celebrity be so candid about their experience with addiction. I can only imagine the impact this will have for anyone struggling. Thank you a million for sharing, Dax.
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