Dax Shepard Explained How He Discussed His Relapse With His Young Daughters And Why He Was "Really Scared" To Speak About It Publicly

"I had built this whole identity in my head around having 16 years [of sobriety]."

Dax Shepard is getting honest about his sobriety journey and his recent relapse — both with the public, and with his young daughters.

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Speaking to Chelsea Clinton on the In Fact podcast this week, Dax revealed he and wife Kristen Bell had shared "the whole thing" with their daughters, 8-year-old Lincoln and 6-year-old Delta.

"They knew when I relapsed," Dax said. "We explained, 'Well, daddy was on these pills for his surgery and then daddy was a bad boy and he started getting his own pills.' We tell them the whole thing."

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He explained that his daughters have always been aware of his addictions and sobriety, telling a story about a time Lincoln wanted to go with him to AA.

"One of the cuter moments was back when my daughters wanted to be with me 24 hours a day," he recalled. "She said, 'Where are you going?' I said, 'I'm going to AA.' She said, 'Why do you have to go?' I said, 'Because I'm an alcoholic and if I don't go there, then I'll drink and then I'll be a terrible dad.'"

When Lincoln asked if she could go along to the meeting too, Dax told her no, because "you gotta be an alcoholic."

"She goes, 'I'm gonna be an alcoholic,'" he told Chelsea Clinton. "I said, 'You might become one. The odds are not in your favor. But you're not there yet.'"

Dax shared during an October 2020 episode of his own podcast that he had recently relapsed after 16 years of sobriety.

Dax explained he had begun taking opioids as pain relief following an ATV accident, but that he ended up "augmenting" the amount he was taking, and ultimately began buying the pills himself.

"I'm allowed to be on them at some dosage, because I have a prescription," Dax said at the time. "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."

"I'm lying to other people, and I know I have to quit," he went on. "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."

At the time of his relapse, Dax said, he felt "really lonely" and "really scared" — but he said the support he received from Kristen, and other people around him, "saved his life."

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"I can't imagine having to admit [the relapse] to other people and feeling as safe as I did that you guys wouldn't hate me," he told Kristen during another episode of his podcast.

"I hated me at that point," he added. "So to be able to tell you guys, and feel unconditionally loved and that I would be accepted, was really special. It saved my life."

And he opened up a little more about that time during his In Fact interview, admitting he felt he had "built a whole identity" around being 16 years sober.

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"It was terrible leading up to [the first meeting post-relapse] because I had built this whole identity in my head around having 16 years," Dax said. "I was holding onto that so much. I was really scared of not having that, and so I avoided losing that for a couple of months."

During an Ellen Show interview in January this year, Dax said he had reservations surrounding speaking publicly about his relapse.

"I get so much esteem out of being someone who's vocally sober, and I have people who write me saying, 'I'm on month one,' or 'I'm week two,' and I love that," Dax told Ellen. "It's my favorite thing about being in public. I was terrified I would lose that."

But, he said, a friend had made him realize how much value his voice could have.

"I have a good friend that said, 'If your real goal is to help people, it's not very helpful that you're 16 years sober and married to Kristen Bell. That doesn't help people. In fact, that probably makes their life worse,'" Dax explained.

"I just get that that's the actual value — that's the thing I can do that's helpful," he added. "And when it was framed that way to me, it got a lot easier."

Now, though, Dax said he may feel even better than he did before his relapse, admitting that it feels like he's been given a "second chance" to confront his addictions.

"Today at least, I feel better with six months than I had felt at 15 years," he said.