Dax Shepard’s Alcohol & Drug Recovery

Dax Shepard's Recovery Story

Dax Shepard is a former drug and alcohol addict.  He’s also an an American actor.

Hollywood Career

He burst onto the scene 15 years ago when he appeared in Punk’d, an Ashton Kutcher produced celebrity prank show.

He went on to act in many films including: Without a Paddle (2004), Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005), Idiocracy (2006), Let’s Go to Prison (2006), and CHiPs (2017).

Hollywood Friends

Shepard is married to Kristen Bell, a fellow actor. They are seen as a wholesome Hollywood couple for their charitable works and clean, positive image.

This wasn’t always the case for Shepard.

Shepard recounts on Michael Rosenbaum’s podcast the ritual of ransacking his friend’s prescription medicine and alcohol cabinets when his friends decided to call an end to a party. Rosenbaum says Shepard had a drinking and drug taking staying power that was extraordinary.

“I was famous for going out on Thursday night to have a couple of beers, and that just led all the way to Saturday night…Of course, come Monday I would be tallying up all the different situations, and each one was progressively more dangerous.” – Dax Shepard

On one occasion, Rosenbaum remembers waking to find his xanax bottle emptied along with his alcohol cabinet and thinking Shephard must be dead. Shepard would say that he’s had friends in sobriety that have died taking the same sorts of alcoholic and drug concoctions that he was regularly taking.

Shepherd says he’s envious of people that can “party” and seemingly let go of the behaviour for months or years at a time.

Dealing with Depression

In a very similar way of Tom Arnold, Sheppard says he needs to work on himself daily to ensure he’s in a good mental state and prevent relapse. If he’s feeling depressed, he runs through a mental checklist.

  • Has he exercised that morning?
  • Has he been of service to others that day?

If he’s feeling down, it’s always invariably because he hasn’t done those preventative things.

Childhood Abuse

Dax Shepard’s story is a lot like Tom Arnold’s. Shepard revealed that he too was molested as a child, by an 18 year old next door neighbor.

His mother called him one day and told him that people that have been molested have a 20% chance of not being an addict (I’ve struggled to find the research that presents evidence for this figure). Prior to that, Shepard had never drawn a connection between the two, and he simply thought he just loved the “bender” experience.

It took him more than a decade to talk about being molested. He for years blamed himself, like many victims, for the perpetrator’s actions. He felt he attracted the abuse in some way.

Childhood Trauma and Addiction Dr Gabor Maté

Some addiction doctors such as Dr Gabor Maté have long argued, controversially, that addictive behaviour was normally in response to a childhood trauma. That the consumption of drugs and alcohol were unconscious mechanisms to deal with emotional pain.

“It is impossible to understand addiction without asking what relief the addict finds, or hopes to find, in the drug or the addictive behaviour.”  
Dr Gabor MatéIn the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

It should be noted that there are many addiction specialists that disagree with Dr Gabor Maté regarding the true extent of childhood trauma and its role in addictive behaviours. Dr Stanton Peele is one such specialist.