With four movies coming out this year, Oscar-winning writer and director, Batman, and actor Ben Affleck comes clean to the New York Times about his alcoholism and his divorce in a no-fluff, all heart interview.
Out of this year’s releases, The Way Back hits close to the actor’s struggles, as the actor plays a character with alcohol problems who blows up his marriage, ending up in rehab. With struggles that closely mirror this upcoming film, Affleck had a lot to say on the subjects of compulsive behavior and alcoholism.
During the interview, Affleck admits clearly to struggling with compulsive behavior and alcoholism, starting the interview off with a sense of truth and bravery.
“People with compulsive behavior, and I am one, have this kind of basic discomfort all the time that they’re trying to make go away.”
He goes on to say:
“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.”
The marriage between Affleck and the mother of his three children, Jennifer Garner, ended in 2018. Though, the couple had been separated for a while before that. Affleck described the divorce as the biggest regret of his life.
Alcohol wasn’t the only factor that caused their relationship to fall apart, but it was a contributing factor to the couple’s problems. Ben began drinking “more and more” through 2015 and 2016 in response to the rising issues his marriage was facing, which only made things worse.
The life lessons Affleck reveals during the interview point heavily to a person who’s well on their way to healing. He talks about the idea of shame, telling the interviewer:
“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.”
He goes on to say:
“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.”
Ben Affleck is going to have a tough time bouncing back from recent cinematic blunders, such as The Justice League and Live by Night, but his fate is far from guaranteed. The films alone wouldn’t pose too much of a hurdle if they were his only transgressions.
The general public will still have to decide if they forgive him for allegedly groping a talk show host in 2013 (for which he apologized, saying: “I acted inappropriately, and I sincerely apologize.”), and breaking Jennifer Garner’s heart.