Mandatory Man: Dax Shepard Owns Secret Opioid Addiction, Inspires Vulnerability and Accountability in Us All

It isn’t easy for anyone to admit they have a substance abuse problem. It’s even harder for people who’ve been sober and relapsed. Add celebrity status to the equation and you’d probably be inclined to just keep your mouth shut. But not Dax Shepard.

The Parenthood actor admitted that, after 16 years of sobriety from cocaine and alcohol, he’s developed an opioid addiction. The confession came last week on an episode of his Armchair Expert podcast titled “Day 7.”

Apparently, Shepard began taking Vicodin after a motorcycle injury earlier this year. But about eight weeks ago, he was “on them all day,” he said, taking “eight 30s a day, and I know that’s an amount that’s going to result in a pretty bad withdrawal. And I start getting really scared, and I’m starting to feel really lonely. And I just have this enormous secret.”

He tried – unsuccessfully – to ween himself off the pills. He was lying to people he loved but didn’t know how to stop. To make matters worse, the public narrative around his sobriety anniversary made it even more difficult for him to come forward. When he celebrated his 16th year of sobriety earlier this month, he was actually high. It was, he said, “the worst hour of my life.”

Finally, he told his wife, Kristen Bell, and his podcast co-host that he’d developed an opioid addiction and handed off his remaining pills.

Fans showed an outpouring of support over the weekend for Shepard, who is now in his second week of sobriety.

“I want to say thanks to all the people that have been so unbelievably lovely to us in response to ‘Day 7,'” Shepard said during Monday’s episode of his podcast. “I am really, really grateful.”

Those who have struggled with similar substance abuse issues – or know someone who has – are equally grateful that a high-profile celeb who seemed to have it all together could admit to being, well, human – and therefore, fallible. It takes a lot of guts to be vulnerable and own up to your fuck-ups. But that’s what Mandatory men do and now, Dax Shepard is officially one of them.

Cover Photo: Amy Sussman / Staff (Getty Images)

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