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Like many celebrities, Dax Shepard has struggled to remain sober. However, he’s married to a good girl, Kristen Bell, who’s never struggled with drugs or alcohol. So how does this couple, who comes from completely different backgrounds manage to make their relationship work? Here’s the story of a couple who uses mutual support and encouragement to live their best life.

Dax Shepard struggled with drugs and alcohol

Beginning at age 18, Shepard found that he had a taste for drugs and alcohol. Soon, it became a problem that spiraled out of control. 

“I just loved to get f**ked-up,” he told Playboy, as reported by US Weekly, “— drinking, cocaine, opiates, marijuana, diet pills, pain pills, everything. Mostly my love was Jack Daniel’s and cocaine.”

Shepard blames his addiction to childhood abuse. At the age of 7, a neighbor touched him inappropriately and it caused Shepard to struggle with negative thoughts for a long time. 

During an interview on The Jason Ellis Show, Shepard shared a surprising statistic about the link between abuse and addiction. Those who have suffered sexual abuse only have a 20 percent chance of developing healthy behavior around drugs and alcohol. That means a whopping 80 percent of victims become addicts and Shepard believes that he falls into that category. 

“I was like, ‘hm, interesting,’ because in my mind I just like to have a f**king great time,” Shepard said, as reported by the New York Daily News. “But when you hear a statistic like that, I’m like, ‘Oh no, I was going to be an addict, period.'”

Kristen Bell helps Dax Shepard celebrate his sobriety

After a lot of hard work and soul searching, Shepard now has 15 years of sobriety. That’s something his wife, Bell, is extremely proud of. 

“I will forever be in awe of your dedication, and the level of fierce moral inventory you perform on yourself, like an emotional surgery, every single night,” Bell wrote in an emotional tribute on Instagram last year.

She concluded by saying: “I love you more than I ever thought I could love anyone, and I want you to know, I see you. I see how hard you work. You set an excellent example of being human. Happy 14th year sobriety birthday.”

In addition to her sweet words, Bell also treated Shepard to a tour of the King’s Hawaiian bread factory. If that seems like a big deal for a day that’s not his actual birthday, that’s because Bell considers Shepard’s sobriety day far more important. 

“I’m very happy he was born so I celebrate his birthday,” Bell told People, “but I’m extraordinarily [happy] that he has stayed sober because that’s what allows me to have him in my life as a husband and as a father.”

Bell appreciates Shepard’s hard work and dedication so much that she spoils him every year on his sober birthday. “The nicest presents she’s gotten me are always on my sober birthday,” Shepard told People. “In fact, my real birthday … still haven’t gotten a present!”

An example of one gift that Shepard holds especially dear is an original copy of The Adventurers by Harold Robbins. Shepard is named after the main character in the story, but Bell made it even more special by having his loved ones write messages in the book.

“It was incredible,” said Shepard. 

Kristen Bell joins Dax Shepard in sober parenting

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard
Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard | Kevin Mazur/VF14/WireImage

While memes about mommy needing wine thrive on the internet, Bell admits that she doesn’t use alcohol this way.

“The wine meme is a very funny thing. I suppose I take it as generalized ‘kids are stressful.’ I personally don’t have wine every day, but my wine is Netflix and cuddling with my husband or our date night,” she told HuffPost

But the reason Bell abstains is that she’s learned from Shepard that it isn’t healthy to use alcohol as a stress reliever, not because she feels any pressure to avoid drinking around her husband. In the interview with HuffPost, Bell shared that Shepard isn’t triggered when people drink around him. He understands that while he may have lost his drinking privileges, that doesn’t mean others have. 

While Bell admits that she doesn’t avoid alcohol completely, she does approach it with a healthy attitude. That, and Bell’s encouragement, creates a wonderfully supportive environment for Shepard to continue his sobriety.