Tucked into the 2020 Holiday Special of his podcast Armchair Expert, listeners will find a sweet moment during which Dax Shepard thanks Kristen Bell for saving his life following his relapse earlier this year. "I can't imagine having to admit to other people and feeling as safe as I did that you guys wouldn't hate me," Shepard told Bell and friend/co-host Monica Padman. "I hated me at that point. So, to be able to tell you guys and feel unconditionally loved and that I would be accepted was really... it saved my life."
Padman was the first to reply, saying, "I feel really grateful and honored that you felt you could trust me. I know you feel like you can trust Kristen, but I feel grateful that I was allowed into the inner circle."
Then Bell chimed in with a sweet take of her own. "I would like to thank all parties involved because I am so appreciative of being able to go through every flavor of emotion with Monica," the actor said. "And also to have you, the father of my children, be so able to be honest even at your most shameful moments is what saves you. Nobody saved you. But you and your courage and boldness to say... 'I did slip and I need to be honest before it gets worse.' And I'm just grateful to all parties involved. I think we did a really good job, team."
Shepard opened up about his relapse during a Sept. 25 episode of Armchair Expert entitled "Day 7." During the episode, Shepard and Padman had an incredibly honest conversation during which Shepard admitted he had relapsed after 16 years of sobriety from alcohol and drugs. The relapse came as a result of two surgeries he had over the course of the year that left him feeling dependent on narcotics. He explained he wanted to be open about his relapse and about the fact that he was seeking treatment in the hopes that it might help others who may also be struggling.
Later in the Holiday Special, Bell and Shepard detailed some of the realities of detoxing from a narcotic addiction at home. "I've never had a patient who should be in the hospital detoxing in my bedroom," Bell said with a laugh. "I've never experienced that before. And the sheets! Woof! Sheet changes!" Shepard chimed in joking that "the Brooklinens were coming hot and fast."
Despite the hardships, Bell is looking on the bright side. "Look," she began. "You can overcome stuff. Things can be thrown at you — curveballs, crazy things — and you can overcome them and... love is just around the corner."
Shepard had a similarly optimistic point of view. "I feel guilty saying this, but I still loved this year immensely," he said. "I loved this year. I had a great year."
After Bell reminded him how lucky they are to be able to say something like that considering they were not out of work or short on money, Shepard continued, "I'm saying, though, even with two surgeries and a relapse and shame spiral and all this stuff, still a great year for me."
If you or someone you know is seeking help for substance use, call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357).