Dax Shepard Explained Why He Told His Kids About His Sobriety and Relapse
He and Kristen Bell make sure their daughters understand Shepard's struggles.
When it comes to fostering a strong relationship with his kids, Dax Shepard doesn’t hold anything back. He and his wife, Kristen Bell, tell the truth and nothing but the truth, no matter how ugly or “too complicated” it may seem. In this week’s podcast episode of In Fact with Chelsea Clinton, the Buddy Games actor got real with talking about his sobriety and opened up on how those tougher conversations go with his family, including his two daughters, Lincoln, age 8, and Delta, age 6.
After 16 years of sobriety, Shepard publicly announced he had relapsed during an October 2020 episode of his podcast Armchair Expert, saying he had “built a whole identity” surrounding this recovered addict persona, which he was, but that didn’t mean it was easy.
He explained to Clinton on her podcast that being 16 years sober meant he was “being an inspiration to people for sobriety” and he truly loved that; however, it only made it that much harder when it was time to come clean. “I was holding onto that so much. I was deriving so much of my self-esteem from that that I was really scared of not having that—and so I avoided losing that for a while.”
Shepard concluded, “Eventually, I couldn’t do it and I had to tell on myself.”
Months later, after revealing to the world about the relapse, Shepard recalls how he and Bell told their daughters the whole thing.
“They knew when I relapsed,” Shepard quipped. “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.”
With two kids under 10 years old, Shepard had been sober their whole lives, so having a conversation about relapse was a first. However, he says talking about his sobriety and making the kids aware about his addictions was something they talked about frequently.
“They know that dad goes to an AA meeting every Tuesday and Thursday,” the dad of two stated. In fact, he remembered Lincoln once even asked if she could tag along with him, singing she “was gonna be an alcoholic” if it meant she could spend more time with her dad. Laughing at his child’s pure innocence and love, he told her, “You might become one. The odds are not in your favor, but you’re not there yet.”
Honesty and accountability have been key for Shepard, who notes he’s feeling better now than he ever did in his sobriety.
“Clearly, I have resentments and things I need to confront and work out, and so this has been a second chance to confront all these things that had been building up,” he added. “Today, at least, I feel better with six months than I had felt in 15 years.”