Dax Shepard is candidly opening up about his ongoing struggle with sobriety. On Friday's episode of his podcast, Armchair Expert, the actor emotionally shared that about two weeks ago, he came clean to his wife, Kristen Bell, as well as his podcast co-host, Monica Padman, about taking an increasing amount of prescription pain pills and lying about it.
In August, Shepard revealed he got in a motorcycle accident and had to undergo surgery after breaking four ribs. The father of two said he rides a lot, and has actually undergone seven surgeries, so taking pain pills isn't new for him. But he acknowledged that about six months ago, his behavior started getting "shadier and shadier" and he began to increase the amount. It eventually progressed to the point where he started buying pain pills.
"For the last eight weeks maybe, I don't really know ... I'm on them all day," he said. "And 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 at whenever I decide I can do."
While Shepard said he felt like he was still managing well when it came to his career and family responsibilities, Padman confronted him about acting different and asked him what he was on. Shepard said he then began lying to her regularly and hated it.
"And I'm lying to other people and I know I have to quit," he said. "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."
After Shepard tried to gradually decrease the amount of pain pills he was taking on his own and it didn't work, he eventually came clean to both Padman and Bell at the same time, and asked them for help. He also admitted that it was hard for him to acknowledge his pain pill addiction because it had been reported in the press that he's been sober for 16 years and he had an "ego," noting that he was still proud that he didn't drink alcohol or use cocaine in that time. But after talking to a close friend, who told him that his number one defect was arrogance and that he needed to be honest with everyone, he decided to be open about his pain pill addiction. He talked about the emotional moment he came clean about his relapse in an AA meeting and was met with "unconditional love" and "kindness."
"For a long time, I've known intellectually that things are going to get worse," he said about his addiction. "That each encounter with it had gotten more shady and more dangerous and I recognize that the next go-around would be, 'Oh, I can't get pills. Let's snort heroin.' And, you know, 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.'"
Shepard also talked about feeling physically ill due to withdrawal. He's now been sober for seven days.
"I'm sweating bullets; I'm jerky; my back kills. It's terrible," he said. "I've never detoxed from opiates, and I have so much compassion for these junkies who have like f**king cycled through this 20-30 times."
"Today is my husband's 16th sobriety birthday," she wrote. "My daughter woke him up with this sign, and a sketch of the one and only Ronald Weasley (absolutely random, and also perfect). Happy birthday Daxy. Thank you for dedicating your life to the hard and wonderful work of sobriety, so that we could share it with you. Xo K, L & D."
Bell and Shepard have been married since 2013, and both have been open about his battle with addition. Bell previously discussed her husband's sobriety with ET in 2018 while promoting her film, Like Father.
"I mean, I married an addict who almost has 14 years [sober] and it's a daily struggle and it will always be a daily struggle," she explained. "My mother-in-law also said to me whatever choices you made yesterday were those choices and today’s a new day and they’re all new choices and you can choose again."