Dax Shepard realized his addiction made his success and millions meaningless

The Off Camera show released more of their interview with Dax Shepard. He continues to impress me with how open, honest and vulnerable he is. I haven’t listened to his podcast but I’ve heard that he’s wonderful at interviewing other celebrities. He definitely is self aware. On the last segment we covered from Off Camera, Dax opened up about his relationship with Kristen Bell. In this new one, below, (there’s more and I’ve linked them too) Dax spoke about his sobriety, how he went to AA and had so many relapses, and how he probably hit rock bottom about a year before he finally got sober. He lost two to three days worth of time and had taken handfuls of pills and drank so much alcohol during his blackout. He easily could have died. A year later, when he was still using but was experiencing incredible success and had a million dollars in the bank, he realized that he was still a mess.

His friend Gordon Keith found his AA Big Book with his sobriety dates crossed off
I’m embarrassed how many times I quit and couldn’t do it. He sees someone who just won’t quit. He starts crying, I get emotional. I’m proud of myself for the first time that I didn’t quit. To truly be powerless over something is demoralizing. [His optimism] affected me. You didn’t die from this. A lot of us do.

He lost about three days of time once
Most addicts have many bottoms. I have many events that are worse than the one that ended up being my last. One one occasion I went out on a Friday… got 100 Vicodin, 80 Percocet, 40 Xanax, 50-60 diet pills. I get an 8 ball [of coke]… two fifths of Jack and a case of beer. That’s Friday night. I come to in my bed and it’s dark out… I go out in the kitchen, everything is gone… the pill box is empty. I come to realize that it’s Monday. You would call this a rock bottom. 90% of people are not waking up from that amount of stuff. You would assume that would be it. There was a good year beyond that moment.

When he decided to quit drinking
The moment for me. I was about to start this movie Zathura. I go with a friend to Hawaii [for a week] I bought crystal meth, got in a car accident, it’s just a disastrous trip. I’m sick most of the time. When I get to San Francisco I’m so physically sick I have to go to the bar. I’ve been in AA at this point so I’m terrified someone is going to see me that knows I’m supposed to be sober. There is a mirror right (next to me). I have this moment where I take stock in my life. I’m about to star in this movie, they’re paying me a ton of money, people recognize me. I’m doing everything I had dreamt of doing for 30 years, it all came true. I am the least happy I’ve ever been in my life. The closest to not wanting to be alive as I’ve ever been and I have every single thing on paper that I wanted.

I feel grateful for this because I was able to say ‘something much more profound is broken.’ Up until then I could tell myself ‘oh if I had money… if I was doing the thing I wanted to do that would solve everything.’ A lot of us proceed through life thinking ‘we would be happy if….’ Those are illusions that most people don’t get to find out are illusions. I was lucky enough to have a million dollars. My whole life if I had a million dollars, do you know how I would feel if I had a million dollars? Well I had a million dollars and I f’ing couldn’t get on a flight to fly 30 minutes. I was like ‘oh it’s none of those things.’

I’ve heard amazing stories like this in AA, of people who should have died so many times and have now been sober for years. I often think about how famous and/or highly successful people talk about their sobriety, like it’s the most precious and valuable thing to them. Many people describe their sobriety are more meaningful than anything else they’ve achieved. I think about that a lot when I’m going through tough times in sobriety, that it’s so much better than it could be. I could still be waking up every day like that. I was so mad all the time. Even if I had all the money and the career success I would still be miserable as a drunk. I hope I don’t ever go back there, and stories like this help.

Two other video segments of Dax’s interview are available including Dax talking about his fear of failure and him discussing his mother telling the story on his podcast of her abusive second marriage. It’s powerful and I like him more now! This isn’t shock value stuff like Jada Pinkett Smith is doing, he’s just talking about his life and what he’s learned and he’s doing his best to be upfront.

Here’s the video

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Photos credit: WENN and Getty

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30 Responses to “Dax Shepard realized his addiction made his success and millions meaningless”

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  1. Erinn says:

    I genuinely like Dax and Kristen. I’ve only started listening to his podcast a couple of weeks back, but I love it. He’s a mix of super confident and wanting to be loved combined with self-loathing and fear, and I get it, and I think a lot of people can relate to that on some level. But I’ve always enjoyed Dax, and I think he gets a lot of flack for things taken out of context. He’s someone who really does try to figure out why he does what he does, and you can tell he adores his wife and daughters. He’s someone who talks a lot before really getting to the point, and with him it’s important to take it all in. He’s also been abused as a child, and has had a pretty rough go at times – but he does continually try to be a good guy.

    And his mom – he genuinely idolizes that woman, and it’s just so so sweet and it’s genuine. After listening to her on the podcast just a couple of weeks after losing the love of her life I’ve also begun to idolize the woman – she’s crazy resilient and just wonderful. She adores her kids and really tried to do right by them no matter what. To hear her discuss how she considered murdering her abusive ex at one point but couldn’t do it because she needed to be there for her kids gave me chills. I genuinely hope that woman has a very comfortable, happy rest of her life because she’s had to put up with more garbage than most. And I give Dax’s dad a bit of credit too – he was there when she needed him during that abusive marriage.

  2. Doodle says:

    I like Dax. My therapist asked me what success meant to me and I told her that it wasn’t money but it was knowing that I had accomplished something that seemed insurmountable – and sobriety must be that way for people who struggle with it. Congratulations to him and to you, Celebitchy, for accomplishing a task every day that once seemed unreachable. That is what true success is.

  3. knotslaning says:

    I never liked Dax but I’ve listened to his podcast and found him to be very likable. He is open about so many taboo things and I appreciate that. I also really like them as a family.

    I have a question for anyone familiar with step programs like AA (is this the right place?). I grew an abusive household and my dad is now taking some classes in a step program (not sure which one). He was told to contact those he has wronged and make amends, however, I have no interest in hearing from him. I find the whole “reach out and make amends” step to be very much about healing the addict/abuser and not considering how the person the contact will be affected. The step seems to totally eradicate the feelings of the victim and how triggering it can be for their abuser to reach out. Any Cele-wisdom here?

    • Jen says:

      That’s such a good question, and I’m sure I’m not going to answer it correctly. I can only speak to my experience. I’ve been sober for almost 16 years (since I was 26). I also was a domestic violence counselor, so I’m kind of on both sides of this question.

      AA helped me get sober. I believe the amends step is twofold. 1. It does help the Addict to begin to release some of the guilt and remorse they have for the actions to the people they love. For me, that was part of what kept me in my addiction. I felt so guilty for what I put my family and friends through that drinking was the only thing that alleviated the guilt, yet drinking obviously would just make the situation worse. So, yes in the regard this step can be seen as selfish, but can be necessary to end the cycle. 2. It can be cathartic to friends and family to finally have that meaningful acknowledgment and apology, and then have the opportunity to speak of their own experience and heartache.

      On the flip side, Domestic Violence and Addiction are 2 different things. Drinking or drug using does not cause someone to all of a sudden become abusive. It just doesn’t work that way. Abuse is about power and control. I’ve seen so many people try to blame that behavior on drugs and alcohol. NOPE.

      When there is abuse involved, 12 steps are not designed to address that. In fact, like you said, the amends step could then be used as a way to manipulate, control and retraumatize the victim. Unfortunately, most 12 steps are not run by mental health professionals. Even if they are, those mental health professionals may not specialize in DV (which again, is a whole different animal).

      Becoming sober, does not absolve an Addict of all behavior and provide a miraculous clean slate. Also, sometimes addicts are still assholes and can just be sober assholes.

      I am so sorry for what you experienced. No one should go through that. If you don’t want to hear from him, stay strong and don’t let that happen. You owe him nothing, and I am sorry the 12 steps are forcing and issue that you should not have to deal with.

      • knotslaning says:

        Wow @Jen thank you for such a thoughtful response! Congratulations on your sobriety and your continued effort in helping others! And yes, he is a mega-manipulator so he is using this as a tactic for control, and basically I have no time for it!

    • Kim says:

      Step Nine reads “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” In some cases it helps those to whom one has harmed. It should not be forced on those one has harmed.

      Unfortunately what you’re describing is not something only found in people going through 12 step programs. My father insisted I forgive him before he died, but never indicated remorse or acknowledgement regarding for what he had done. If he didn’t know the extent and wanted to hear my thoughts or feelings, he never said so.

      Ultimately one needs to do what is right for themselves.

      • The Other Katherine says:

        I’m sorry you went through that, and too many people I know have had similar experiences. I don’t think that a person can find real forgiveness, both from the people they have wronged and from themselves, without first expressing genuine remorse and making sincere efforts to atone (including understanding why their behavior was harmful and taking steps so that it does not happen again). Your father cheated himself as well as you. Trying to force others to forgive you is very much part of the abuser mindset, and revictimizes the person who suffered the abuse in the first place.

    • Jen says:

      @knotslanding Awww… thanks! So glad that you are at the point that you see through his BS.

      I will say that DV can make change through intense work and commitment. However, that will never require help from their victim.

    • Veronica S. says:

      The portion about making amends is as much about facing up to the consequences to your actions. You have no responsibility to forgive your father. He can reach out, but you are not obligated to accept it. Don’t be cruel but be firm – I’m glad you’re getting sober, but it’s too late to fix this relationship. Please do not contact me again. Some things are unforgivable, and no amount of time or rehabilitation can change that. Be aware of the repercussions of your choice but stand behind it. It’s your right to do so.

    • Margo Smith says:

      My father was a verbally abusive alchoholic and I moved out at 18 to get away from it. I don’t have a relationship with him. Since I’ve moved out 14 years ago, I’ve maybe seen him 8 times. The relationship is on my terms. There “steps” can be damned. Don’t you dare feel guilty about not wanting to talk to him. You may never want to (like my brother) and that is fine. And maybe one day you will, but girl, that’s on YOUR terms, not his. He lost that right.

    • Mariposa says:

      I think having true remorse and accountability means that you express your regret to the victims of your actions with absolutely no expectation of anything changing on their end. Also, that you only reach out if you think it would be in the other person’s best interests…not just yours. If you feel your father is reaching out without respect for your feelings, or because he wants you to change in any way, then I think it is best that he isn’t able to do that. It won’t help you, and it ultimately won’t help him either.

  4. Notyouraveragehousewife says:

    I relapsed yesterday for the first time in eight months. I feel so ashamed and I’m really beating myself up over it. The only person that knows about it is me as I’m very good at hiding it. Even though no one else knows about it that doesn’t make it any easier at all. Please send me all of your positive vibes. I made such a dumb choice. I feel so stupid. A failure. 😭

    • Celebitchy says:

      It doesn’t erase everything you have done so far! It means you are human. Smart Recovery was how I got sober and they have good articles on relapsing. You have achieved a lot and you slipped, it happens and does not mean you failed at all.

      • Notyouraveragehousewife says:

        Thank you for your kind words and resources! I’ve been in intensive addiction therapy since my last relapse and it’s helped me greatly. The opportunity presented itself yesterday to use and I took it. Im going to call my therapist today and talk to her about it. Congrats on your sobriety, Celebitchy! ❤️

    • Caitrin says:

      We are all human, and we are all fallible. Each day brings a new opportunity to make different choices, and today I know you’ll be okay. ::hugs::

      • Notyouraveragehousewife says:

        Thank you! I’m so grateful for your comment. I knew that I could post something so vulnerable and personal here and would receive only love and encouragement. ❤️

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      You’re feeling this way because your sobriety is important to you. You’re not a failure. You just pulled over to the side of the road for a spell. Just get back in, get back on the road and keep going. Your journey is what you have between birth and death so stay on that path you’ve laid out. You should be proud of that path because you realized it’s the one for you. I know you can do this.

      • Notyouraveragehousewife says:

        Thank you so much! You’re right. My sobriety is very important to me. Your kind words mean the world to me! Thank you for your support!

    • Mich says:

      I don’t know if this helps but I relapsed after 10 years of very happy sobriety. And then again after a full year of being back on track. And then again after another full year… I disagree with others when it comes to differentiating between “slips” and “relapse”. Slips are dangerous and they don’t just ‘happen’ because an opportunity presented itself because opportunity is ALWAYS around. Slips look for opportunities, not vice versa.

      In my (very painful) experience, a rather lengthy period of unconscious rationalization precedes “slips”. It can be very subtle and yet very powerful. The first two times it happened, I wasn’t even aware it was going on. The third, I was fully aware but just didn’t care (long story). Alcoholism is very manipulative.

      You are doing the right thing being open about what happened and are so smart to get to your counselor to discuss it. Slips are dangerous because they represent something bigger going on in your recovery thinking. Love yourself enough to forgive yourself though. Alcoholism is a very manipulative beast and you are in for the long haul when it comes to fighting it.

    • Florida says:

      You are HUMAN! Not a perfect infallible being. You ARE a success and please please PLEASE don’t beat yourself up! And it is wonderful that you recognized your mistake and are working to get back on track. I am rooting for you, I know you can do it and it’s one day at a time. You are doing your best and that’s all anyone can ever do. We care about you, ok? And I will be thinking and praying for you. YOU CAN DO IT. Never ever doubt it.

    • LaraK says:

      Sobriety is a commitment you make fresh every day. If you relapse, nothing says you can’t make the commitment again. Learn from it and recommit. You are not a failure, there’s no punishment except what you give yourself.
      So don’t beat yourself up, just make a different choice today and tomorrow and the day after that.
      – Four years sober after two relapses.

  5. Ash says:

    I like Dax. I know he is not loved on this site and he gets vilified for oversharing his personal life. I have been listening to Armchair Expert since the beginning and I find it to be a really good listen. He is genuine in his conversations with people and seems like a kind person. I struggle daily with sobriety and fail more days than I would like to admit. Listening to his journey has brought me some hope and comfort.

  6. Moco says:

    I love the podcast. He’s a very insightful guy and has great conversations. For some reason, though, I can’t stand when he has Kristen on. It feels like all of their conversations turn into “deep” philosophical analysis sessions that are so tiresome. So O like him more and more and her less and less.

  7. itspurplespice says:

    You really should listen to the episode of his podcast where he interviews his mother. It’s so powerful and yes, he is very self-aware and well-spoken and she is the same. It’s a beautiful listen. I don’t listen to his podcast regularly but I do on occasion if I find one I’m interested in. This one, the one in which he interviews Kristen Bell (I think there may be 2 of these now) and the one in which he interviews Mila Kunis are my favorites of his.

  8. Steff says:

    It’s refreshing to see men be vulnerable like this.

  9. enya says:

    I’ve had a crush on Dax ever since I saw _Hit and Run._ It’s great that he’s open about this. I hope his words help many people struggling with sobriety.

  10. kristen says:

    This is so relatable.
    For me, it wasn’t a million dollars I was chasing — but it was “the next step on the career ladder.”
    I always thought “yes, I’m unhappy now, but once I’m a manager, I’ll like my job.” Then it was “yes, I’m unhappy as a manager, but once I’m senior manager, I’ll like my job.” Then I realized a career is, for me, never going to provide the kind of personal fulfillment I really wanted.
    I just gave up drinking Monday and I’m taking one day at a time.

    • JennyJenny says:

      @kristen ~ sending you all positive thoughts as you begin your journey.

    • Florida says:

      You can do it! Soul searching and examining your life is always a good thing. I hope you will find whatever brings you all the happiness in the world.

  11. Florida says:

    I dislike him and his wife intensely, but I wish him all the best in all areas of his life. I always root for happiness, health, and family!