As fans may recall, the Armchair Expert host opened up about his sobriety in a September episode of his podcast, revealing that he'd relapsed after 16 years. After sharing his story, Dax received an outpouring of love and support from fans and family, including his wife Kristen Bell. And while Dax has been so honest about his life over the years, he's since admitted that he originally didn't want to speak publicly about his relapse.
"I did not want to at all," he said on the Jan. 26 episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. "I had all kinds of bizarre fears like, you know, I have sponsors on my show, is that something that could cost me money financially?"
The 46-year-old actor went on to tell host Ellen DeGeneres that the "number one thing" he was afraid to lose was his connection to those people who are also working on their sobriety.
"I get so much esteem out of being someone who is vocally sober and I have people who write me on month one or on week two and I love that," Dax said. "That's my favorite thing about being in public. And so I was terrified I would lose that, I really cherish that."
However, his perspective changed after getting advice from a friend, who told him, "If your real goal is to help people, it's not very helpful that you're 16 years sober and married to Kristen Bell, that doesn't help a ton of people. In fact, it probably makes their life worse. So the fact that you just fell, that's the actual value, that's the thing that you could do that's helpful."
As Dax told Ellen, when it was framed to him in that way, it made the decision to share his story "a lot easier."
On the Sept. 25 episode of his podcast, the Parenthood alum spoke out about his relapse for the first time, explaining that he'd been taking opioids. Dax went on to note that he'd experienced many highs and lows in his sobriety over the years, but it was the six months prior to the episode—after suffering injuries and managing the pain with Vicodin—that things took a turn.
"For the last eight weeks maybe, I don't really know…I'm on them all day," he said on the podcast episode. "And I'm allowed to be on them at some dosage because I have a prescription and then I'm also augmenting that. And then all the prescriptions run out and I'm now just taking 30 mil Oxys that I've bought whenever I decide I can do [it]."
Dax also confessed that, at first, he lied to his podcast co-host and friend Monica Padman after she confronted him about his sobriety. Although he later did share his relapse with her and Kristen and began attending AA meetings.
"He is actually doing really great," Kristen, who has two daughters with Dax, said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in October. "I mean look, you know, everybody's up against their own demons, sometimes it's anxiety and depression, sometimes it's substance abuse."
"The thing that I love most about Dax is A, that he was able to tell me, and tell us and say, 'We need a different plan,'" she added. "Like we have a plan, if he has to take medication for any reason I have to administer it. But he was like, 'So we need a stronger plan, I was faltering and I have to do some sort of emotional work to figure out why I wanted to use again.'"