Dax Shepard Reveals Connection Between His Childhood Molestation and Later Drug Addiction

By John Lavitt 04/19/16

Shepard, who has been sober since 2004, realized that he "was going to be an addict, period."

Dax Shepard Reveals Connection Between His Childhood Molestation and Later Drug Addiction
Photo viaShutterstock/DFree

After revealing for the first time that he had been molested as a child, actor Dax Shepard concluded that his issues with drug addiction were likely fueled by the experience, USA Today reports. In a recent interview on Sirius XM’s The Jason Ellis Show, Shepard said he was molested by an 18-year-old "dude in my neighborhood" when he was seven. Although he described the molestation as "minimal," the actor believes the trauma contributed to his drug problems later in life.

Shepard, who has been sober since 2004, made the connection when his mother, who works as a court-appointed advocate for foster children, told him about a statistic linking abuse to addiction—that if you've been molested, you only have a 20% chance of not being an addict. "In my mind, I just liked to fucking have a great time," he told Jason Ellis. “But when you hear a statistic like that, I'm like, 'Oh no, I was going to be an addict, period.'" 

The 41-year-old actor said it took him 12 years to tell anyone about being molested. Before then, he had convinced himself that it was his fault, "as generic as that is." He told Ellis, "I'm like, 'It's my fault and I'm gay, I must have manifested this because I'm secretly gay.' I had all these insane thoughts for 11 years or 12 years."

In a 2012 interview with Playboy, Shepard went into detail about his drug-fueled escapades. "I just loved to get fucked-up—drinking, cocaine, opiates, marijuana, diet pills, pain pills, everything. Mostly my love was Jack Daniel's and cocaine," he said at the time. "I lived for going down the rabbit hole of meeting weird people. Of course, come Monday I would be tallying up all the different situations, and each one was progressively more dangerous. I got lucky in that I didn’t go to jail."

Despite the weight of his past demons, Shepard seems to have moved on with relative ease. He is happily married to actress Kristen Bell and is currently working on a new film, CHiPs, based on the 1970s TV show.

The link between childhood trauma and addictive behaviors is highlighted in this Fix interview with Dr. Gabor Maté, who believes that one must address underlying trauma first, before an addiction can be properly treated. 

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.