Dax Shepard’s Relapse Story— Podcast Episode 44!

Zach Rhoads By: Zach Rhoads
Reviewed By: Dr Stanton Peele

Posted on December 21st, 2020 - Last updated: September 18th, 2023
This content was written in accordance with our Editorial Guidelines.

Sundays With Stories is a segment of the LPP podcast that Dr. Peele and Zach Rhoads created in order to illuminate the myriad natural recovery (recovery without support groups or rehab) stories all around us. They do so because people are often hesitant to tell their own natural recovery  own natural recovery stories, for fear that they will upset the addiction industry, or perhaps because they believe their own story is a non-story (they had a problem, then they matured out of it– not exactly a Hollywood movie).

This is episode 44 of the LPP Podcast (and the 11th segment of the “Sundays With Stories” series). 

The actor, podcaster, and AA advocate Dax Shepard has decided to turn his sobriety count from 16 years all the way back to one day. This is the result of a recent decision to take narcotic pain killers off-script.

Dr. Stanton Peele and Zach Rhoads discuss why Dax’s own personal development is being stymied by 12-step ideology, and why he either cannot OR refuses to acknowledge that fact.


(Part I — Current Events)

Dr. Peele and Zach Rhoads begin the show by reviewing some recent current events in addiction, harm reduction and psychology.

0:00 – 6:20

Zach discussed an article from Filter Magazine (written by Sessi Kuwabara Blanchard) regarding a new plan by the DEA to expand patient surveillance for drug takers.

6:20 – 12:50

Stanton talks about a recent New York Times article about happiness, depression and suicide.

(Part II — The Dax Shepard Story)

12:50 – End

Today’s main story centers around the recent relapse admission of actor, podcaster, and 12-step advocate, Dax Shepard.

After 16 years of total abstinence from alcohol and illicit substances, Dax decided to take prescription pain-killers, first as prescribed at first, but then off-script.

Stanton and Zach believe that Dax’s reasons for initially using prescription narcotics were perfectly logical– he used them for pain and he used them to feel well!  The hosts also believe that Dax — even though he eventually used the drugs in a less-than-healthful way–  could have prevented the downsides of his drug use if only he were able to be honest about it (i.e. not felt shame over having used them in the first place).
Unfortunately, due to the AA-inspired restrictions that Dax imposed on himself, and the promises that Dax had made to the world (to his fans, to his AA buddies, and to the people in his life), Dax was left needing to hide his drug-taking experience.
He was afraid that telling anybody his thought process around taking drugs (to prevent pain and to feel well– sheesh!) that he would be swiftly rejected an addict who had no control over himself.
In reality, Dax probably would have taken the drugs responsibly, and without fearing addiction, if only he had felt comfortable sharing his true thoughts and feelings about the drugs in the first place.  But because he’s prioritized his allegiance to AA dogma (rather than common sense), Dax isolated himself and played into his assigned identity as a life-long addict.
Zach recounts the celebrity’s relapse story, as told by Dax Shepard himself on his “Armchair Expert” podcast. 
Then Stanton and Zach tell a counter-factual version of the story– a version in which Dax Shepard took an LPP-mindset of life-engagement,, connection, and personal responsibility,  instead of an AA-mindset of powerlessness, and victimhood. 

——————–The audio version of the podcast is here———————


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