A couple of years ago I covered a story in which Dax Shepard explained the moment he decided to stop drinking. He was sitting in an airport bar, miserable, right when his career was taking off. At that moment he realized that he had a million dollars in the bank, but that all the money in the world did not matter when he felt terrible like that. Sometimes, when I’m tempted to downplay my sobriety (four years this July), I think about that. It’s a powerful story and brings home the point that being sober is worth more than just about anything.
Dax revealed in the last episode of his podcast, Armchair Expert, that he had been buying and taking extra pain pills after his prescription ran out following his recent motorcycle accident. He described how his addiction got out of control and how he got sober again. As of the recording, he was still sweating so much from withdrawal that he had to sleep with a towel and change it in the middle of the night. If you want to listen, the part where he realizes he’s addicted again starts around 11:30 into that episode, 7 Days. His podcast producer, Monica Padman, was the one who was administering his prescription pills to keep him from abusing them. She’s the first one who noticed that pills were missing, that he was not himself and the first one to question him about it. He tried tapering down on his own and was not successful, and finally sat down with Monica and his wife, Kristen Bell, to tell them about it.
Prior to this Dax had about 16 years of sobriety, although he had a slight relapse around the time of his father’s illness and death. That was about 8 years ago. He took some of his dad’s pills following a motorcycle injury around that time. He talked about that on the podcast too. It doesn’t sound like he was as far gone then, but he was trying to manage it like a lot of addicts.
Dax said that he had been addicted for about 8 weeks this latest go-around and that, prior to the podcast releasing, he had told Monica and Kristen about a week and a half before. He had 7 days sobriety as of the recording. I listened to this entire episode and the thing that struck me was how parenthetical Kristen was to this conversation. It was as if Dax’s co-producer, Monica, was his partner instead. I understand that she’s his business partner and records with him but it was striking. He only sounded concerned about Kristen in a business sense, when he said he was worried that she would be asked in interviews about his addiction.
I don’t regularly listen to this podcast, I’ve heard about one full episode before. I highly recommend Dustin Rowles’ coverage at Pajiba for a thorough analysis. Dustin listens to Armchair Expert and he says that the real issue is how enmeshed Monica, Dax’s podcast producer, is with his family. She’s been quarantining with them, she often takes care of their kids, and she’s somewhat of an enabler for Dax’s narcissism. She kept congratulating him and kissing his ass throughout this podcast. I also really like Dustin’s assessment of how Dax and Kristen protect their kids’ faces and that’s about it. They put seemingly all of their business out there, and this is a doozy. There’s also the question of whether this jeopardizes Dax’s sobriety or will help hold him accountable.
On one hand I question how sustainable Dax and Kristen’s celebrity business model is. It does not seem wise to be so open about their relationship problems, about the embarrassing things their kids do, and about their deep personal issues like Dax’s relapse. At least they’re both on the same page in valuing headlines as celebrity currency. I do wonder how compatible they are as partners vs. as a celebrity couple.
All that said, it takes some level of bravery to be as open as Dax has been and I hope he can stay sober. His story has moved me in the past and I think this part of his journey will help a lot of people struggling with opioid addiction. I’m an AA dabbler (it’s very male-oriented in my area and too Christianity-based for me) but I’ve never gone to a meeting where someone’s story hasn’t resonated with me.
Oh and I’m not posting it but Dax Instagrammed a photo of Kristen peeing in their car. He did that.
He also said he felt bad about the fact that he accepted his sobriety birthday cake while he was not sober. My main question about this was why is he going to in-person meetings at this time?
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Today is my husband's 16th sobriety birthday. 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