Dax Shepard Was "Crazy Superstitious" About Doing This Every Day to Stay Sober
The actor feared if he couldn't do it, he would relapse.
Dax Shepard is a beloved actor, comedian, podcast host, and writer—and in his personal life, he's also a husband, father, and recovering addict. Ever since first getting sober in 2004, the star has used his platform as a Hollywood A-lister to share his experiences in recovery. Now, he's revealing the one thing he was "crazy superstitions" about when he first got sober. Read on to find out Shepard's perspective on his complicated journey through addiction, and to learn why this one daily practice helped keep him on track.
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Shepard has struggled with multiple addictions throughout his life.
Shepard has been open about his battle with addiction and his 18-year effort to stay sober. In 2012, he told Playboy (via People) that in addition to excessive drinking, he regularly took "cocaine, opiates, marijuana, diet pills, pain pills, everything" before turning his life around.
The Parenthood actor explained that he would get sober to act in movies, but then immediately revert to his old ways, plunging deeper into addiction each time a film wrapped. "In between movies it was getting more and more dangerous," he told Blake Griffith, host of the podcast The Pursuit of Healthiness (via People).
His habit took a toll on all areas of his life, but especially his relationship with his wife, Kristen Bell. "All the things I'd done were terrifying to her, and she had a hard time believing I would ever be able to stay married and monogamous and a father and all those things. For the first year and a half [that] we were together, that was what we battled over almost weekly," he shared with Playboy.
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He says he's hit "rock bottom" several times.
The actor says it took "hitting rock bottom" many times before he finally resolved to get sober for the first time—and there were many setbacks along the way, even after he made that difficult decision."There's a couple of common fallacies about sobriety—one being that people hit a bottom and then that's that. Most addicts have many bottoms," Shepard explained during a 2019 interview on Off Camera With Sam Jones. "I had many events that were even worse than the one that ended up being my last event," he said, describing one particular bender during which he blacked out for a period of days.
While not his most frightening moment as an addict, he also shared the moment in 2004 when he knew he needed to address the problems underlying his addiction: "I am about to star in this movie, Zathura; they're paying me a ton of money; people recognize me at the airport. I'm doing everything I had dreamt of doing for 30 years. It all came true, and I'm the least happy I've ever been in my life. I'm closest to not wanting to be alive as I've ever been, and I had every single thing on paper that I'd ever wanted. I feel grateful for this because I was able to say, 'Something much more profound is broken.'"
Shepard says he became "crazy superstitious" about doing this after he got sober.
When he first got sober, Shepherd says he became "crazy superstitious" about keeping a journal. "I had this thought that if I can't commit 20 minutes to remembering I'm an addict each morning, I'm going to end up blowing nine hours a day as an addict," he told Gwyneth Paltrow in a 2019 interview for The Goop Podcast. "I have to be able to say, minimally, this is your commitment. You've got to acknowledge you're an addict every day, first thing, right when you wake up, you write a page," he said. "It doesn't even have to be about being an addict. It's just this physical activity there to remind myself, 'I have a thing that I'll never not have.'"
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The star has relapsed and recommitted to his sobriety time and time again.
Though the star has been open about his experiences with relapse in 2012 and 2020, he says he now focuses on taking concrete, actionable steps to keep his sobriety in check. "I don't believe people think their ways into acting different. I think they act their ways into thinking different," the actor said in 2019 on his podcast Armchair Expert (via Us Magazine).
For Shepard, this means "working the steps" of the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program. "The thing I like about AA is it's not abstract: Here's what you do; write this list; call this person; be available to this guy; take that person to a meeting," he shared. "You can't wake up one morning because you're so demoralized from the night before and decide, 'I'm going to permanently remember that I felt this demoralized in six years and this will be sustainable.' For me, at least, I will forget six years later what it felt like. But if I have actions that are a part of my regular muscle memory and routine, those things will do the lifting for me," he said.
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