Dax Shepard reveals relapse, opens up about battle with painkillers

On the latest episode of his podcast "Armchair Expert," Dax Shepard revealed that he is newly sober following a recent relapse after 16 years of sobriety.
/ Source: TODAY

On the latest episode of his podcast "Armchair Expert," Dax Shepard revealed that he is newly sober following a recent relapse after 16 years of sobriety. On the podcast episode that was recorded on Monday, Shepard explained in recent months he has been battling an addiction to the opioid painkiller Vicodin that actually started in 2012.

In an Instagram post on Friday, Shepard described "Day 7" as "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."

"This was Monday, say today is 11," Shepard added.

In 2012, Shepard says he was prescribed Vicodin after a motorcycle accident on his way to the set of "Parenthood." His wife, Kristen Bell, was the only one who was allowed to administer the drugs. After a trip to visit his ailing father who was also prescribed Percocet at the same time, Shepard said he and his dad got high together

"You know, we had so little in common and so much f--king friction," Shepard recalled. "But the No. 1 thing we had in common was we were both f--king addicts and we had never used anything together. And we sat there stoned and looked at the lake. And in that moment, I felt elation and I was just happy."

During that trip, Bell surprised Shepard to offer her support, and Shepard admitted he had relapsed to her. "That was eight years ago," Shepard continued, adding, "I've now had this experience where I did that, I felt bad, but there wasn't any fallout from it. It was like, I felt bad, I said I felt bad, and then I did just move on and it was fine."

Over the years, Shepard has continued to suffer more injuries due to his riding, appropriately taking drugs to help with his pain. However, after his most recent bout that happened about six months ago, he started "getting shadier and shadier."

"And I've not ever yet bought them," he said. "And then I do ... 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. 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)."

"And again in my addict-ey brain I'm like I don't take them after four so I can sleep. I am taking stool softeners so I am not constipated. I'm doing all the dishes and I am being a dad and I am interviewing people and the interviews seem to be going well and it's feeling very manageable."

Shephard's co-host Monica Padman ended up confronting him when she had suspicions, asking, "What are you on?" He said he lied to her, and that is when he started realizing he had a problem.

"And I'm lying to other people and I know I have to quit," he confessed. "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 trying to detox unsuccessfully, less than two weeks ago, Shepard decided to tell Padman and Bell. "I'm gaslighting you and I know I am," he told her, recalling his behavior. "And I'm making you feel crazy and I'm making Kristen feel crazy."

"I felt so terrible about the lying," Shepard added. "I was just very scared and I felt very, very lonely."

Shepard also detailed the experience of celebrating the milestone of being 16 years sober, while also being high. (On Sept. 1, Bell even paid tribute to her husband with a a sweet post on Instagram.) Being congratulated at a meeting while using pain pills, Shepard says was "the worst hour of my life."

During his recent relapse, Shepard said he did not "have a single desire or fantasy or ideation about drinking or doing cocaine."

"The only thing I would hope people would hear is that, at least in my case, the outcome wasn't anything like I feared like it would be," he said. "The secrets are so much more painful than whatever the fallout from owning my secrets was."

He added that he felt "really grateful" to have Bell and Padman still in his life.

"You guys were understanding and didn't feel as betrayed as you should."