According to Shepard, who revealed in September during an episode of his Armchair Expert podcast that he had relapsed after 16 years of sobriety, he spoke to his daughters about it “just like” he talked to Clinton about it.
“They knew when I relapsed,” he said. “We explained: ‘Well, Daddy was on these pills for his surgery and then Daddy was a bad boy and he started getting his own pills.’
“Yeah, we tell them the whole thing.”
The Parenthood star also explained that this is not the first time he and his wife have been open with their daughters about his issues with addiction, with the actor telling Clinton that they know “dad goes to an AA meeting every Tuesday and Thursday”.
The father-of-two then recalled a “cuter moment” from when his daughter Lincoln was young and “wanted to be with me 24 hours a day,” where she had asked him why he had to attend an AA meeting.
“She said: ‘Why do you have to go?’ I said: ‘Because I’m an alcoholic and if I don’t go there, then I’ll drink and then I’ll be a terrible dad,’” he recalled. “And she said: ‘Can I go?’ And I said: ‘Well, no, you got to be an alcoholic.’ And she goes: ‘I’m gonna be an alcoholic.’”
Shepard laughed while he remembered telling his oldest daughter at the time: “And I said: ‘You might become one. The odds are not in your favour, but you’re not there yet.’”
During the episode of Shepard’s podcast in which he revealed his relapse, he said that he had begun taking opioids following a series of ATV accidents.
According to the actor, he had originally justified it because he had a prescription for the painkillers, but then began “augmenting that” and buying pills whenever he ran out.
“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,” he recalled at the time, at which point he was 11 days sober.
While speaking with Clinton about eventually seeking help for addiction again and telling his friends and family of his relapse, Shepard said it had been difficult because he hadn’t wanted to give up the identity of 16 years sober.
“It was terrible leading up to it because I had built this whole identity in my head around having 16 years,” Shepard said, adding that he loved having people look up to him as an inspiration. “I was holding on to that so much, I was deriving so much of my self-esteem from that, that I was really scared of not having that - and so I avoided losing that for a while.”
While it was difficult to admit the relapse, Shepard said that he now feels “so good” today.
“Today, at least, I feel better with six months than I had felt in 15 years,” he said.