To actress Kristen Bell, her husband’s birthday is one thing, but his “sober birthday” is another.

In a sit-down interview with Bell and her husband, actor Dax Shepard, Shepard joked to People about how his wife’s letter to him on his 14th sober birthday ended up getting more praise than the fact that he’s been 14 years sober.

He said:

“I scrape together 14 years of sobriety, and she writes a little flowery thank you. Now there’s headlines all over the country about Kristen’s accomplishment of writing this letter. I’m like, ‘Just like you to steal my thunder!’ I’m the one that went to 10,000 AA meetings and here you are.”

Bell defended herself by saying “that was what I was trying to convey,” and Shephard knows that:

“You were genuine. You had no part in it. You were being beautiful and complimentary and loving. But America likes you about 400 times more than they like me, and they could not wait to celebrate your celebration. At no point was the message of any of the stories like, ‘Good job, Dax.’ It was like, ‘Can you imagine being loved by a woman like Kristen Bell?'”

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 19.7 million American adults — aged 12 and older — battled a substance use disorder in 2017.

In fact, as Shepard told People that Bell celebrates his sober birthdays bigger than his actual birthday:

“The nicest presents she’s gotten me are always on my sober birthday. In fact, my real birthday…still haven’t gotten a present!”

And while Bell still appreciates the day her husband was born, she explained why she “spoils the hell out of” him for his “sober birthdays.”

The actress, who has two young daughters with Shepard, told People:

“I’m very happy he was born so I celebrate his birthday, 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 said she’s constantly in awe of the hard work Shepard puts into staying sober for 14 years and counting, an echo of what she wrote in that now-viral note.

View this post on Instagram

To the man mocked me in our wedding photos because I cried too many tears of joy, Who wore a baby Bjorn for 2 straight years to show his girls how to be as adventurous as possible, Who held our dear little shakey mann pup for 8 hrs straight on the day we had to put him down, I know how much you loved using. I know how much it got in your way. And I know, because I saw, how hard you worked to live without it. 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. You never fail to make amends, or say sorry when its needed. You are always available to guide me, and all of our friends, with open ears and tough love when its needed most. You have become the fertilizer in the garden of our life, encouraging everyone to grow. I'm so proud that you have never been ashamed of your story, but instead shared it widely, with the hope it might inspire someone else to become the best version of themselves. You have certainly inspired me to do so. 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, @daxshepard. Xoxo

A post shared by kristen bell (@kristenanniebell) on

She wrote on Instagram:

To the man mocked me in our wedding photos because I cried too many tears of joy,
Who wore a baby Bjorn for 2 straight years to show his girls how to be as adventurous as possible,
Who held our dear little shakey mann pup for 8 hrs straight on the day we had to put him down,
I know how much you loved using. I know how much it got in your way. And I know, because I saw, how hard you worked to live without it.
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.
You never fail to make amends, or say sorry when its needed. You are always available to guide me, and all of our friends, with open ears and tough love when its needed most.
You have become the fertilizer in the garden of our life, encouraging everyone to grow.
I’m so proud that you have never been ashamed of your story, but instead shared it widely, with the hope it might inspire someone else to become the best version of themselves.
You have certainly inspired me to do so.

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…

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you can call the SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for help at any time.

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Kristen Bell Celebrates Husband’s Sober Birthday Bigger Than Real One Because Sobriety Gave Them a Life Together

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