October 22, 2020

man and ptsd

In light of the public admission of actor Dax Shepard’s relapse after long-term recovery, lead therapist Todd Garlington penned an op-ed for Fatherly detailing his own experience of relapsing after being sober for 20 years.

In the piece, Garlington recalls his IV drug use and subsequent rehab at age 19. After that treatment stay, he went on to have a successful business, wife, family and a new home under construction, and lived the a sober lifestyle for the next 20 years. After the financial collapse in 2008, Garlington goes on to show that despite a substantial length of sobriety, the disease of addiction requires lifelong diligence because certain circumstances can lead to an unhealthy situation.

“It began as a slow, gradual fade (it often does), but within a month, I was out of control,” said Garlington. “I was using every day, injecting anything I could into my veins to dull the pain. For the next year, I spiraled into a chaotic life, completely disconnected from my family, even my children.”

He continues, “Hearing Shepard talk about feeling this same disconnect resonated so powerfully with me. The withdrawing, the lying, the shady behavior – I vividly remembered experiencing it myself.”

Now with 10 years of sobriety under his belt, Garlington goes on to share what he’s learned from his journey back to recovery.

Todd’s piece can be read in full here.