Dax Shepard Explains Why Relapse News Was So Hard To Share After 16 Years Sober

Dax Shepherd

2020 was a tough year for everyone, as being in quarantine and isolation has been a bummer for most people. For those dealing with addiction during COVID times, the pandemic is not merely a disruption to everyday life, but a huge threat to their recovery. Big Hollywood names were not immune to this danger, with The Ranch actor and podcast superstar Dax Shepard speaking out last year about relapsing after 16 years of sobriety. Even though Shepard has a strong support system and is used to being outspoken about his life, going public with his relapse news proved to be especially difficult after he'd been clean for so long.

Dax Shepard first opened up about his relapse and struggles with opioids on an episode of Armchair Expert, a weekly podcast he co-hosts. More recently, the actor appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show for the host's birthday and he reflected on his difficulties with sharing news of his recent relapse, saying that since he speaks about recovery so often, he was concerned it would have a negative impact on the podcast, while also negatively affecting listeners who are in recovery. In Shepard’s own words:

I did not want to at all. I had all kinds of bizarre fears, like, I have sponsors on my show, is that something that could cost me money, financially? But the number one thing I was afraid to lose was I get so much esteem out of being someone who's vocally sober and I have people who write me, 'I'm month one,' or 'I'm week two,' and I love that. That's my favorite thing about being in public, so I was just terrified I would lose that. I really cherish that.

Although he is far from the only celebrity to struggle with addiction and fall off the wagon, Dax Shepard has spent a lot of time and resources helping others who share his struggles. He uses his Armchair Expert platform in particular to help inform and support those who struggle with addiction and are attempting to get clean.

Dax Shepard likely had valid concerns that his relapse after being clean for 16 years would have an effect on the recovery processes of his most loyal fans and listeners, but there may be a bright alternative view. In the same appearance on Ellen, Shepard explains that a friend gave him a different way of thinking about how others view his relapse, saying that it may help to humanize the star. This is how he put it:

And I have a good friend that said, 'You know if your real goal is to help people, it's not very helpful that you're 16 years sober and married to Kristen Bell. That doesn't help a ton of people, in fact, it probably makes their life worse. So the fact that you just fell, that's the actual value. That's the thing you can do that's helpful.' So when it was framed that way to me, it got a lot easier.

Being married to Kristen Bell and basically being the cutest couple ever does put Dax Shepard on a bit of a pedestal. It’s important to remember, though, stars have their dark periods just like everyone else, and their lives are not always as sunny as they appears on the TV cameras. So when Shepard and other stars put those darker days in view for all to see, it helps bridge that human gap between everyday people and the celebrities.

Three non-potent cheers to everyone celebrating their sobriety today, and if anyone needs shows to binge to keep their mind off of more negative habits, check out what’s streaming on Netflix this year.

Carlie Hoke
Content Writer

Constantly thinking about books, coffee, and the existential dread I feel from Bo Burnham’s Inside.  While writing I’m also raising a chaotic toddler, who may or may not have picked up personality traits from watching one too many episodes of Trailer Park Boys.