This is “an episode I hoped I’d never have to record,” Dax Shepard told his 3.4 million Instagram Followers. “But [it’s] one I felt I owed to all the beautiful Armcheries who have been on this ride with me for the last couple years.”
Shepard was referring to the “Day 7” episode of his (and Monica Padman’s) highly-popular Armchair Expert podcast. “Day 7” wasn’t just the title of that specially-scheduled October 2020 episode though. It also happened to be the amount of time the actor had been sober since his then recent relapse. And that -- natch -- was the news Shepard hoped he'd never have to share.
But share he did. And he did so with grace, charm and candor. No easy feat when your relapse comes on the heels of 16 years of sobriety. That you also probably feel as if you've let down millions of fans couldn't help, nor of course could the feeling that you let down the two daughters and a wife with whom you share a home.
And a life. Quite a blessed life at that. Oh, make no mistake, Shepard earned that life. Big time. In fact, our colleagues at Healing Properties took special note of that fact when they initially covered Shepard's relapse. They also took special note of his gratitude, which, even after just a week already knew no bounds.
Then again, gratitude had always been heavily featured in Shepard's narrative. It was there at the San Francisco airport when he faced both literal and proverbial mirror. And it was there throughout his incredibly accomplished sobriety. It had to have been. A junkie drunk doesn't flip the script to such complete degree without a heaping helping of Thank You.
Keeping the Script Flipped
Yeah, Shepard had flipped the script alright. In fact, he went from a crash-and-burn horror story into the kinda Hollywood guy-makes-good tale Capra used to make. Heck, not only does he land a successful series (Parenthood) and get to do a big screen dream romp with friends (Hit and Run), he even gets to meet the love of his life (and future wife) while shooting a rom-com (When in Rome). If that's not 21st century Capraesque then nothing is.
Decade two of this 21st century finds Shepard keeping the script flipped -- and then some. First there's the this side version of the UK hit Top Gear, which finds our friend Dax wheeling around with high comic Rob Corddry and bona fide speed racer Jethro Bovingdon.
And while MotorTrend's Top Gear America will provide ample time to tool around with the fellas, Shepard's also got a family to handle. And there too he seems to have segued rather nicely. The show, Family Game Fight, may or may not have sprung from some acrimonious doings in the Shepard and Bell family household. What's certain however is that it's backed by Ellen, airs on NBC and co-stars none other than Kristen Bell herself.
All that's in addition to Armchair Expert, which is now exclusively with Spotify. Oh, don't worry. Shepard and Padman have assured everyone that the podcast will continue to cover "the messiness of life." From the looks of things, it will also continue to do so with some of the most bold-faced names in chatterdom. Then again, it's kind of hard to see where a podcast will go after having former President Barack Obama as its initial new network guest.
But go it most assuredly will, at least if the irrepressible Dax Shepard has anything to say about things. How could it be otherwise? After all, he's got ArmChair ruling the air, MotorTrend giving him rev, and his and Bell's new game show set to premiere following nothing less than the Olympics closing ceremony. That last alone is the kind of ultra-prime prime-time slotting which permits nothing but go-go. Combined, Shepard's on a bona fide roar.
The Honesty of Dax Shepard
Our colleagues at Healing Properties were so taken by Dax Shepard's honesty that they came back 10 days after covering his relapse and devoted an entire post to just that. Then again, his candor really is worthy of applause. Not just because he's got such a massive platform (though there is that), but because his massive platform doesn't get in the way. Whether he's discussing his family's bathing habits (the topic of much recent conversation) or his hitting rock bottom (which is always a worthy discussion), Dax Shepard is unflinchingly and unfailingly candid, come what may. In fact, so unflinching and unfailing is Shepard that his honest about hitting rock bottom deserves to be re-shared here.
The year was 2019. The scene was an episode of the podcast Off Camera With Sam Jones. This pull comes straight from Healing Properties.
“There’s a couple of common fallacies about sobriety,” said Shepard, "one being that people hit a bottom and then that’s that. Most addicts have many bottoms. I mean, I had many events that were even worse than the one that ended up being my last event.”
Shepard then proceeded to speak about a few of these moments, most notably a vacation where he was “hammered and doing drugs the whole time.” It was then that he ended up finding revelation in the aforementioned airport bar.
“I had this moment where I kind of take stock of my life,” he continued. “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.'”
Indeed. As HP mentions, it was that bout of absolute honesty which may have actually saved Shepard’s life. It most certainly led to his seeking and getting help. That help, in turn, preceded the 16 years of massive success — and complete sobriety.
Did Dax Shepard’s honesty enable him to fix all that was broken? The relapse says perhaps not. It certainly gave him the strength and the wherewithal to check himself before completely wrecking himself. And as we cited above, it also allowed him to flip the script, yet again, to a life he's proud to star in.
(Image Cody Engel Shutterstock)