Actor Dax Shepard and his actress wife Kristen Bell recently talked about relapses, substance use disorders, and addiction recovery.
In hopes of helping other people who may be going through similar situations, the couple decided to be publicly candid about the actor’s recent relapse to substance use and extensive battles with dependence.
Using his podcast as a platform to reach the public, Shepard honestly talked about how he recently relapsed and started abusing pain relievers after getting injured.
The actor — who is well known for his roles in movies such as Idiocracy and The Judge and for playing the main character in Parenthood and other TV shows — mentioned that his substance use disorder started around the time he was 18 years old. He also emphasized that he had been sober for approximately 16 years prior to that.
He added that he found himself lying to those around him about how many pills he had been taking in addition to hiding the amounts he was purchasing.
Once he realized that he was abusing the prescribed substance, he went to his wife to have a conversation about how they needed another, better plan for him to get back on track to his sobriety.
Kristen Bell then addressed the subject of substance use disorders while appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
She stated that the entire situation has been challenging and marked by varied emotions. Yet, she added that she will continue to stand by his side and aim to help her husband stay committed to his sobriety.
Shepard has taken the initiative himself and has been making moves to stay sober, Bell said.
“One of the main reasons I love him is that he is also addicted to growth,” she said. “He is addicted to evolving.”
Since the recent relapse, the couple has been seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist to help them implement strategies to promote sobriety.
Relapsing may discourage individuals from sticking to treatment and/or to a sobriety plan. However, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it’s important to remember that experiencing relapses does not mean that the treatment has failed.
The institute states that relapse rates for patients struggling with addiction are comparable to the rates reported among patients that suffer from other chronic medical conditions.
NIDA also points out that newer substance use disorder treatment programs are crafted specifically to prevent relapses.
While relapse is a normal part of recovery, it usually shows that the individual needs to seek professional support or make changes to the addiction treatment program they are in.