This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Charles Lott Jr., left, Ben Affleck and Al Madrigal in a scene from "The Way Back." Picture: AP
This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Charles Lott Jr., left, Ben Affleck and Al Madrigal in a scene from "The Way Back." Picture: AP

Ben Affleck: Talking about my alcohol battle is 'liberating'

By Bang Showbiz Time of article published Feb 27, 2020

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Ben Affleck finds talking about his alcoholism battle "liberating", although he admits he would have "preferred" to keep it private.

The 47-year-old actor has been to rehab several times to work on his sobriety, and has said that whilst he would have "preferred" to tackle his addictions in private, he does think there's something freeing about speaking publicly.

Ben says his family history with alcoholism - which has seen two of his grandparents, his father Timothy, and brother Casey Affleck all previously battle the addiction - paired with the breakdown of his relationship with ex-wife Jennifer Garner in 2015 made staying away from alcohol difficult.

He said: "Frankly. I would have preferred to deal with that part of my life privately but that's not the way my life is.

"For me, it was a two pronged thing. I have a genetic component. Two of my grandparents were alcoholics. So it seemed like statistically the dice were kind of loaded.

"When my life got stressful, which principally had to do with the disappointment and the pain that the divorce caused my children, that affected me profoundly.

"I didn't want to see them hurt. I found myself drinking more and more at night at home by myself. It was something I was doing to avoid dealing with painful feelings. My parents got divorced when I was young. I know how painful that is."

The "Way Back" actor - who has Violet, 14, Seraphina, 11, and Sam, seven, with Jennifer - claims his addictions caused him to develop "depression and anxiety", and called for more to be done to "destigmatise" mental health.

He added: "I've experienced depression and anxiety. The psychological issues are not as well understood as addiction is now. Addiction has become more destigmatised, where mental health is more confusing and more elusive. Sometimes it's hard to differentiate 'Something bad happened to me, so I feel bad' versus 'I'm feeling bad because something is not working right chemically in my brain.'"

But ultimately, Ben does think speaking out about his struggles have helped him tackle the "shame" he felt about his demons.

Speaking to People magazine, the 'Justice League' star explained: "It's liberating and kind of freeing not to have a secret or to feel shame about something."

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