For many individuals, addiction is a long-running struggle. Addiction is a disease that cannot simply be cured. It is a life-long battle that needs to be maintained in order to fully recover. Award-winning actor and filmmaker Ben Affleck is no exception.
Just like numerous people who struggle with addiction, Affleck experienced childhood trauma growing up with an alcoholic father and witnessing his parents divorce in 1986. “To be honest with you, the marriage was so bad, and I remember feeling relief,” Affleck told Barbara Walters in a 2012 interview, reflecting on his parents’ divorce when he was just 12 years old. In the same interview, Affleck said “[My father] was an alcoholic… I did know that as a child. He drank a lot. My father was a — what did they call him — a real alcoholic. He, you know, drank all day, drank every day, and to his credit, he got sober ultimately,” he revealed. “He’s been sober for several decades, which I think is pretty impressive.” In 2008, Affleck told The Mail on Sunday in 2008 “[He] turned his life around in a very laudable way, but having such serious addiction issues has a major impact — it colors who you are and becomes a part of you.”
He considered his childhood a difficult one but credited his friend, Matt Damon, and brother, Casey, for supporting and helping him through his father’s alcohol abuse and parent’s divorce. “I had good friends. I had Matt Damon, I had my brother, and I had a nucleus of friends that I grew up with and I had support from,” he told Walters.
Treatment in 2001
Affleck first entered a 30-day treatment facility in July of 2001. It was reported that he entered after a night of hard partying. His publicist confirmed his completion of the residential rehabilitation program in California by saying, “Ben is a self-aware and smart man who has decided that a fuller life awaits him without alcohol,” the rep stated. “He is committed to traveling to a healthier road with the support of his family friends and fans.”
In 2012, Affleck himself addressed the stay in the treatment program by telling The Hollywood Reporter in 2012, “I went to rehab for being 29 and partying too much and not having a lot of boundaries and to clear my head and try to get some idea of who I wanted to be. It was more a ‘let me get myself straight,’ before it became a rite of passage.”
Treatment in 2017
Ben Affleck married fellow actor Jennifer Garner in 2005. Together, they have three children. Their marriage and Garner’s positive influence helped the actor settle down, “I think becoming a father makes you see the world differently and it’s good,” Affleck said in a January 2017 interview with The Guardian, reflecting on his past mistakes and his three children with Garner. “I’d always had a strong idea about my values and the direction I wanted to be headed in, then I ran into getting famous and it totally spun me around and I flailed around for a few years,” he confessed. “When you’re a young man in your 20s, part of that is making mistakes and learning from them. I just made those in front of everybody, rather than privately.”
Affleck and Garner announced they were divorcing in June of 2015 after ten years of marriage. In March of 2017, Affleck announced that he completed treatment for alcohol addiction for a second time. He made the announcement in a Facebook, stating “I have completed treatment for alcohol addiction; something I’ve dealt with in the past and will continue to confront,” he wrote. “I want to live life to the fullest and be the best father I can be. I want my kids to know there is no shame in getting help when you need it, and to be a source of strength for anyone out there who needs help but is afraid to take the first step. I’m lucky to have the love of my family and friends, including my co-parent, Jen, who has supported me and cared for our kids as I’ve done the work I set out to do,” he continued. “This was the first of many steps being taken towards a positive recovery.”
Road to Recovery
Then, in August of 2018 at the age of 46, Affleck posted a statement on Instagram explaining that he had completed a 40-day stay at an addiction treatment center and that he was continuing in outpatient care for his alcohol addiction. He posted, “The support I have received from my family, colleagues and fands means more to me that I can say. It’s given me the strength and support to speak about my illness with others,” he continues, “Battling any addiction is a lifelong and difficult struggle. Because of that, one is never really in or out of treatment. It is a full-time commitment. I am fighting for myself and my family.”
He added: “So many people have reached out on social media and spoken about their own journeys with addiction. To those people, I want to say thank you. Your strength is inspiring and is supporting me in ways I didn’t think was possible. It helps to know I am not alone.”
He concluded the statement by saying “ with acceptance and humility,” writing, “I continue to avail myself with the help of so many people and I am grateful to all those who are there for me. I hope down the road I can offer an example to others who are struggling.”
If you or someone you know is seeking help for drug or alcohol addiction, contact us for help.