20th Feb 2020
Ben Affleck has opened up about his divorce from Jennifer Garner, as well as his struggles with addiction in a raw and candid interview with The New York Times
Ben Affleck has opened up in a new interview about his divorce from actress Jennifer Garner.
Speaking to The New Times, he spoke candidly about his marriage which ended in 2018 saying, “The biggest regret of my life is this divorce… Shame is really toxic. There is no positive byproduct of shame. It’s just stewing in a toxic, hideous feeling of low self-worth and self-loathing.”
Affleck and Garner married in 2005 and had three children together before their split.
The Oscar winner is currently promoting his new film The Way Back which tells the story of a high-school basketball coach who is dealing with alcohol addiction. The actor opened up about his personal struggles with alcohol which culminated in a stint in rehab in 2018. He told the paper that he himself struggles with compulsive behaviour and alcohol was used as a way to numb discomfort.
“You’re trying to make yourself feel better with eating or drinking or sex or gambling or shopping or whatever. But that ends up making your life worse. Then you do more of it to make that discomfort go away. Then the real pain starts. It becomes a vicious cycle you can’t break. That’s at least what happened to me.”
He continued, “I drank relatively normally for a long time. What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart. This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems.”
History of addiction
Affleck also opened up about his family history of addiction and mental health, saying: “My dad didn’t really get sober until I was 19… The older I’ve gotten, the more I recognize that my dad did the best he could… There’s a lot of alcoholism and mental illness in my family. The legacy of that is quite powerful and sometimes hard to shake.”
His younger brother Casey Affleck also had similar struggles, and while his paternal grandmother took her own life at the age of 46, his uncle shot himself and an aunt had a heroin addiction.
Affleck struggled to admit to himself that he was an alcoholic but it is now something he accepts. “It took me a long time to fundamentally, deeply, without a hint of doubt, admit to myself that I am an alcoholic… The next drink will not be different.”
However, he doesn’t think focusing on past mistakes is healthy and is thinking only of the future, saying, “It’s not particularly healthy for me to obsess over the failures — the relapses — and beat myself up… I have certainly made mistakes. I have certainly done things that I regret. But you’ve got to pick yourself up, learn from it, learn some more, try to move forward.”
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