There is always a risk of relapse occurring, even if it has been years since you last touched an addictive drug. “Parenthood” actor Dax Shepard first became addicted to drugs at the age of 18. Since then, he has had two drug relapses throughout his recovery. With the help of his wife, actress Kristen Bell, and going into treatment, Dax Shepard’s story can teach those in recovery that relapse is a normal part of the journey and not to give up.

Dax Shepard’s First Relapse

Dax Shepard first achieved sobriety from cocaine and alcohol in 2004. In 2012, Shepard got into a motorcycle accident. It was then that the physical pain combined with the news of his father’s cancer diagnosis became too much for him to handle, resulting in his first relapse. He spoke to his sponsor about the struggles of having to attend work each day in extreme pain and mentioned that he was considering reaching out to friends who had access to Vicodin for pain management. Shephard’s sponsor told him to take Vicodin if it was necessary for his pain, but to get a prescription through a doctor instead and allow his wife to hold on to the medication. While this plan worked initially, it eventually led to Shephard’s decision to abuse Percocet during one of his visits to ensure his father was taking his medications correctly.

Dax Shepard’s Second Relapse

In September 2020, Shephard’s family celebrated his 16-year sobriety birthday, abstaining from alcohol and cocaine. Unfortunately, he relapsed again that same month, as he started abusing painkillers after another motorcycle accident he suffered the month before. Even though the plan was for Bell to manage Shepard’s prescription, he ended up purchasing his own pills and lied to people about how often he was taking them. Once again, Shephard realized that he had relapsed and needed to get help. According to Bell, Shephard got honest with her about his relapse and let her know that they needed to come up with a stronger plan. 

Going Forward in Treatment

Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell have planned on attending counseling and working through his relapses together. Bell plans to stand by her husband. Ever since his most recent relapse on September 21st of 2020, Shephard has maintained his sobriety. Relapse is not a sign of failure, but that you need to seek help. If Dax Shepard was able to move forward with his sobriety despite his relapses, you can do the same thing for your recovery.


Relapse takes place when you experience a slip back into substance abuse after a period of abstinence and recovery. Regardless of how long you have been sober, relapse can happen to anyone. Dax Shepard is an example of a celebrity who has struggled with relapse during his recovery. Luckily, he has been able to use his relapses as an opportunity to learn and grow, immediately seeking help with the support of his wife. At Alta Loma, we understand how defeating a relapse can feel. We want you to know that you don’t have to figure it out all alone. We will be there for you every step of the way as you learn to understand your triggers and find relapse prevention tactics to ensure your successful recovery. We can offer you 12-step programs, individualized therapy, therapeutic recreational activities, coping skills education, and more. To learn more about our services, call (866) 457-3843.