Author: Justin Mckibben
This past Tuesday, Academy Award-winning actor, screenwriter and producer Ben Affleck made a powerful and inspiring announcement to his fans and friends via social media. Since then the internet has lit up with articles and insights on how this public admission could be seen as a heroic moment to so many people all over the country.
Ben Affleck has the honor of being the new face of Bruce Wayne, bringing the Batman to life in the most recent installments to DC’s feature films. So he is no stranger to the role of a hero with a dark past.
Being open and honest with the world Affleck publicized he had completed treatment for alcoholism, and so many in the recovery community and advocates for addiction have found it as a beacon… or “BAT SIGNAL” if you will… (I will)… for all those struggling to overcome the stigma and see they are not alone.
In an emotionally-charged note to his fans, Ben posted on Facebook stating:
“I have completed treatment for alcohol addiction; something I’ve dealt with in the past and will continue to confront. 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. This was the first of many steps being taken towards a positive recovery.”
This is also not the first time Affleck has done battle with alcoholism. The 44-year-old actor has faced his own alcohol addiction in the past, while his childhood was also impacted by the influence of alcoholism on his father.
Alcoholism in the Family
In 2012 Ben Affleck did an interview with Barbra Walters discussing his parent’s divorce when he was 12 years old. During the interview Affleck stated:
“[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’s been sober for several decades, which I think is pretty impressive.”
At this time he credited his brother and his closest friends, including Matt Damon, of helping him through a difficult childhood. After Ben Affleck earned his place in Hollywood for his work with Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting in 1997, he gave up drinking at 24-years-old.
Ben Affleck’s First Time in Rehab
In July of 2001, Ben Affleck completed a 30-day residential rehabilitation program for alcohol abuse. But this experience didn’t seem to convince Affleck at the time he was in danger of real alcoholism. In a 2012 statement, he had said,
“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.”
Not saying it wasn’t an important experience, but this statement seems to lean closer to the ‘I’m not as bad as some people’ line.
In 2004, Ben Affleck married Jennifer Garner, his co-star from another comic hero film Daredevil. Sources at the time said Affleck’s new married put a halt on all the hard partying. Batfleck began to settle down and start up a family. The two were later blessed with 3 children: Violet, age 11, Seraphina, age 8, and Sam, age 5. Affleck says,
“I think becoming a father makes you see the world differently and it’s good.”
However, Jennifer and Ben did eventually split in 2015. Still, early reports are indicating Jennifer is an important part of Ben’s current path to sobriety.
While Ben Affleck has been more private about his time in rehab this time around, speculation began when Batfleck was spotted with woman while out and about in Los Angeles that a source later told ET was actually a sober coach Ben had been working with named Elizabeth Weaver.
Other sources have indicated to ET reporters that while Affleck no longer works with Weaver, he was supported by another sober companion while showing up to the 2017 Oscars to support his brother Casey Affleck who won Best Actor.
Looking forward a bit, it’s interesting that the next Batman solo movie starring Ben Affleck is also set to star Joe Manganiello as the infamous villain Deathstroke. Joe Manganiello has also had his struggles with alcohol. In a past interview Manganiello stated,
“My life was ruined. I was homeless, careless and broke with no career.”
The former “Magic Mike” and “True Blood” star has been sober over twelve years! In a 2015 interview Joe Manganiello said his sobriety was “very close to [his] heart.” With him starring as a rival assassin and all out bad mofo in the next Batman against Affleck, one has to wonder if a sober bro-mance might blossom between the two Hollywood action heroes.
Heroes and Alcoholism
One inspiring aspect of all this is that it not only gives us a reason to see past the stigma of alcoholism and addiction, but it also makes those who suffer feel more connected to the people who they may look up to; more connected to their heroes.
In fact, I remember watching Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne in the recent Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice movie. In one scene Bruce Wayne wakes up, fighting back his nightmares, and reaches to a nightstand cluttered by wine bottles to get a bottle of pills. Moments later his butler Alfred Pennyworth, played by the amazing Jeremy Iron, even comments on hoping:
“- the next generation of Waynes won’t inherit an empty wine cellar.”
I related in a big way to the idea even Batman is drinking and popping pills to escape. As a recovering alcoholic and lifelong Batman buff, I felt connected to a feeling I believe is unspoken but relevant to the character, the actor, and the reality of addiction.
It’s almost ironic to me, looking back. To see a well-known and highly celebrated actor like Ben Affleck play my lifelong hero, and in the midst of critical divisiveness over his recent projects still have the strength to speak out about his hardship with alcoholism and the love of his family getting him through, it’s an interesting sense of empathy. Again, when his post says,
“… 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…”
That is a strong statement. Batfleck has put himself out there with solidarity and compassion for those who are struggling with alcoholism and addiction. He may not be the first, but he is still a pretty prominent voice in Hollywood today, and that means something. He wants his own kids, and everyone else, to know they should never be afraid to ask for help.
A big piece of this we can all appreciate is that when successful professionals, artists or family-oriented individuals take a public approach to acknowledging addiction, it gives us all another perspective. Those on the outside looking in can see it in the men and women they admire. Their peers can be inspired to take a similar stand on self-improvement and raising awareness. Batman himself has said,
“I have one power. I never give up.”
Bruce Wayne is a man who dedicated himself to being a symbol. Ben Affleck is a man who has struggles and is choosing to have a voice. If more of us chose to have a voice, to take a stance and not give up, we could help others still who don’t know there is a choice.
It can be surprising to see so many successful people are recovering alcoholics and addicts. Sometimes we don’t realize our favorite artists and actors have dealt with something so difficult to get through. The more heroes we have every day that step up and share their message of hope, the more hope we may have that people seek the help they desperately need. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Addiction has shattered the barriers of stigma we once believed to be separating the castes created of financial and cultural differences. Drug addiction has touched the lives of people living in every nook and cranny of our society, while climbing its way to impact those cradled in the lap of luxury, claiming countless lives everywhere in between.
Addiction is not limited to the poor and disenfranchised, nor to the morally or intellectually imbalanced, and it seems some artists and writers went out of their way to prove that point.
Looking back through the history of comic book superheroes, we can even see how the lives of our most iconic and courageous idols of the imagination were once overwhelmed with the effects of addiction, and we see how even our childhood heroes had struggled to recover.
- Iron Man- Alcoholic
Tony Stark is both CEO of his own company, Stark Industries, and a metal-bound man of action known as Iron Man. Being a CEO and a superhero are both job titles with an abundance of stress attached, what with needing to balance a corperate check-book and fight off alien warlords or 3 story monsters… and for Tony Stark that stress reached its climax when his Iron Man armor malfunctions, causing him to accidentally kill a diplomat at a public event.
Iron Man turns to the bottle for escape from his turmoil. Even after discovering his rival tech company Hammer was behind the malfunction and exacting vengeance, the killing of the ambassador continues to haunt Iron Man and his alcoholism spirals out of control.
Finally, after a drunken episode of self-destruction that impacts his girlfriend and butler, he finally acknowledges his alcoholism and asks them for help, and thus begins his road to recovery, which is also hinted at in the comics.
- Moon Knight- Prescription Pills
Moon Knight is a Marvel character that has been described as a murderous, schizophrenic anti-hero who will carry out justice by any means necessary… who just so happens to be tangled up in prescription pill abuse.
Moon Knight believes he fights as the avatar of Khonshu, Egyptian god of the moon and vengeance. It is unclear a lot of the time if his visions of the god are real or an elaborate expression of his mental illness, but either way the pills probably aren’t helping.
After one climactic battle with an arch-nemesis Moon Knight finds himself confined to a wheelchair with a pair of shattered knees. But instead of letting this be his rock-bottom, Moon Knight amplifies the abuse of painkillers and anti-psychotics to only exacerbate his role as an insane anti-hero with some serious issues.
- Captain America- Crystal Meth
Yes… you read that right… even Mr. Goodie Good himself, the Hitler-punching defender of democracy himself Captain America has had his stint with drug addiction.
While investigating a drug ring in New York City, Captain America gets caught in a meth-lab explosion. The big difference with Cap is that he doesn’t willingly ingest the drugs, but instead due to freak-comic-book science, the drug bonds with the super-soldier serum in his blood and instantly hooks him on Crystal Meth.
After assaulting a fellow hero and other outrageous behavior, finally Black Widow gets him under control long enough to get him back to Avengers Tower, where he detoxes… not as cool of a detox story as mine, but I can’t complain.
- Arsenal- Heroin
Arsenal was once the sidekick to Green Arrow from DC’s Justice League. I never knew that, and I definitely never knew he was addicted to heroin. Arsenal apparently even got clean for a while, but years after quitting, he relapses into his heroin addiction following his the death of his daughter in a terrorist attack.
High on a drug called “China Cat” and driven insane by grief Arsenal goes on a heroin addict killing spree, until Batman finally steps in to apprehend him… I kinda wish Batman had done my intervention.
Arsenal is sent to supervillain drug rehab. The story is not very popular by the fans accounts, but this series did win a PRISM award for “accurate depiction of substance abuse and mental illness.”
- Batman- Performance Enhancing Drugs
This one is hard for me to talk about… I mean, it’s Batman! Justice… Vengeance… the Night… the Caped Crusader himself!
Yes, even my childhood hero had an addiction… and not just to Justice. In one series after failing to save the life of a young girl, a younger Batman becomes obsessed with becoming stronger and resorts to abusing the performance-enhancing drug called “Venom.” (Fun fact- this is the same substance that later powers Bane)
The pills Batman gets hooked on take a devastating toll, as most steroid addictions do. Besides being highly addictive, the PED Venom scrambles the Dark Knight’s mind, making him take a strange pleasure in inflicting violence.
Like many of us in recovery can relate to, a drug battered Bruce Wayne suffers through various stages of addiction including:
Finally, the worlds greatest detective decides to go cold turkey and asks Alfred to lock him in the Batcave for 30 days. Again, sounds like a way cooler place to detox than most, but still 30 days cold turkey is not easy to shake anywhere. In the end, Batman returns as a much wiser hero, the hero Gotham deserves.
The stories of struggles with addiction for the super powered and awe inspiring may just be made up cartoons for drama, but it still makes a point to humanize the characters while simultaneously trying to show that drug abuse, addiction and mental health are very real, very powerful and pervasive issues that can impact even the most amazing people. If even our greatest and mightiest heroes can get lost and feel hopeless from drugs and alcohol, we should respect the disease and the influence it can have on our peers.
No one is perfect… yes, even Batman… and it takes compassion to realize that and support those who truly struggle. If anything, let the idea of superheroes with addiction break down the concept of stigma, and help become part of a world that promotes saving lives from addiction.
Addiction and mental illness should never be ignored, and there is hope for those who are suffering. It doesn’t have to be Batman (who is the greatest hero ever)… as cliché as it may sound, not all heroes wear capes. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, be a hero, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Photo Via: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Hardy
Author: Justin Mckibben
I have to say that being a huge movie buff, and I’m the kind of guy who tries to remember every role my favorite actors/actresses play in. I highly anticipate the new Mad Max: Fury Road film starring the London talent turned Hollywood hero Tom Hardy, and as someone that follows the careers of actors and actresses I’m impressed with after they are able to grab my attention with just one intriguing role, I have become a huge fan of this guy. So when I first read about Tom Hardy speaking openly about his battles with drugs and his road to recovery it was something that makes him seem more human, and I might actually be a bigger fan for it.
Hard Man Hardy
Edward Thomas “Tom” Hardy is a 37 year old English actor from Hammersmith, London who made his feature film debut back in the day with Black Hawk Down in 2001. He since has been noted for countless amazing performances in some awesome titles including:
- Star Trek: Nemesis (yes.. he was the main villain)
- RocknRolla (appeared as Handsome Bob)
- Inception (a performance toe-to-toe with Dicaprio’s)
- Warrior (nuff said)
- Lawless (the big brother/soft spoken moonshine man)
- The Dark Knight Rises (duh… anything Batman is awesome)
And throughout his career he went from a much smaller size to a bulky brawler, getting him some serious notoriety as what he says Hollywood sees him as- a “hard man” on set, but that’s not who he thinks he is. This may be most noticeable in his role as the yoked-up mask-faced mercenary BANE from the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy.
So when Hardy recently talked about his troubles with drugs and how helpless he was in active addiction, I can’t help but imagine him saying (in my best possible Bane impersonation) “I was wondering what would break first, my mind… or my body!” Addiction struck in his mid-20’s, but it seems Hardy counts himself fortunate to have recovered before getting the chance to terrorize us in Gotham City.
In an interview with fellow former addict Kenny Ross, Hardy talked about how his had nearly fallen apart, along with his career due to drugs and alcohol. Despite his successful performance in Black Hawk Down, he quickly found himself in a downward spiral that landed him broken.
“I didn’t want anyone to know I was out of control, but I couldn’t hide it. Eventually, the body gives up. I was completely kaput. I was lucky I didn’t get hepatitis or AIDS.”
Hardy admitted that his troubles began at an early age of 13, when he was already experimenting with hallucinogens. Coming from an affluent home Hardy was kicked out of boarding schools for theft, and an addiction to crack cocaine and abusive relationship with alcohol quickly followed. Hardy was arrested for stealing a Mercedes and possessing a gun at 17, but somehow managed to get off without punishment. The years went on and his addiction was only growing, and he abused crack cocaine consistently. At one point he said:
“I would have sold my mother for a rock of crack”
While it didn’t get to the point his mom was on the auction block, it apparently got bad enough for Hardy to make a change.
“I did something particularly heinous that allowed me to wake up.
“I had to lose something. Sometimes you have to lose something that is worth more to you than your drinking.”
Then one day in 2003 he woke up in a puddle of his own blood and vomit on the streets of Soho, and after years of using and boozing he finally realized he needed help. Luckily for him, he was able to find it.
His Reaction to Recovery
Hardy may have become one of the “hard men” of Hollywood, but he is certainly able to admit his shortcomings and his faults. During an interview Hardy described his transition into recovery from despair and desperation, and how the message had stuck with him.
“I was told very clearly, ‘You go down that road, Tom, you won’t come back. That’s it. All you need to know.’ That message stayed with me clearly for the rest of my days. I am f–king lucky to be here.”
When he talks about his trip to rehab, his intentions going in, and the revelation he had while in treatment it is a very familiar story. This inspiration hits close to home remembering my own journey to treatment for addiction, and one thing I can honestly relate to is when he said:
“I went in thinking I’d do it for a little bit until I can go out and drink and people forgive me. But I did my 28 days, and after listening to people who had been through similar circumstances I realized I did have a problem.”
Hardy has now been sober since 2003, and he credits a lot of that to helping others in many ways to reach out. He has actively worked a 12 Step program, and admits that at times his work may be his substitution for his drinking and drugging, but he does his best to stay aware of what that element of his ambition could do. He is the first to admit he has the same potential to ruin it all today as he ever did, but he is grateful for his life today and for the opportunity to chase his dreams and raise his son.
While our new Mad Max may look like a bit of a bully in his movies, it appears as though he is anything but. As a loving father and active member of a fellowship who has dedicated himself to helping others and spreading the message, he seems to take his role in recovery very seriously, and isn’t afraid to talk about living in the fear. Sometimes we don’t see how our heroes are humans too. We all need a little help sometimes. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Ladies and gentlemen, this weeks crazy news is one full of risky work activity, country music, skunks, and my favorite… JUSTICE! So we will start off with probably my favorite story of this week and talk about my personal favorite caped-crusader, before discussing some not-so-heroic behaviors, and end with a happy tale of an animal rescue with a cuddly but smelly little critter!
Batman and Spider-man Tussle in Time Square
Photo via: http://www.quickmeme.com/
New York City’s Times Square is seen pretty regularly in a lot of super-hero films being made these days, and is a huge inspiration for the concrete jungles where many comic-book crusaders save the day. Two costumed characters were arrested this past Saturday night along with a third man for allegedly fighting in time square. It’s not Gotham, but it will do.
The two characters were doing what costumed heroes with no real villains left to foil have to do to get by, which is typically making a public appearance while hustling for tips on a street corner in exchange for photos with families and other passers-by. When two men allegedly were drunk and disorderly, and started yelling and gesturing at them.
The dark knight and protector of Gotham- Batman (41-year-old Jose Escalona-Martinez) was grabbed from behind and the perpetrator shouted obscenities, before the evil-doer moved on and allegedly grabbed Spider-man (aka 35-year-old Abdel Elkahezai) on the rear. Reports stated that 23-year-old Thomas Rorke was the supposed suspect in this case.
Spider-man (Abdel Elkahezai) allegedly sprayed Thomas Rorke with his webbing, or at least his prop Silly String, as his spider senses probably informed him that there was no time to for horse-play. Soon enough, punches were thrown. Thomas Rorke appears to have gotten the worst of it, with reports claiming that he was punched repeatedly in the face and chest.
“He (Rorke) was intoxicated and messing with Batman and they got into it,” another masked vigilante who’s secret identity was 50-year-old Paul Smith, told the New York Daily News. That’s just foolish, NOBODY messes with Batman!
“Everybody, no matter what costume they are wearing, has the right to protect themselves. It’s like Stand Your Ground in Florida,” he told the newspaper.
This particular Spider-man has a rap sheep of his own apparently, besides saving Mary Jane and battling green goblins: Elkahezai has previous arrests for alleged public urination, assault and weapons possession. Not very hero-sounding if you ask me. For shame Spidey!
However, at least one other comic-book hero vouched for Spidey.
“He’s one of the best guys, honest, religious,” a man dressed as Captain America, who declined to give his name.
All three were arrested, but there have been no further details about the charges filed against these men. Regardless of what happens though, where-ever Batman goes, there will surely be justice!
Drunk Country Music Diva
photo via: http://tasteofcountry.com/
Lynn Anderson rose to fame in 1970 with her country hit “Rose Garden” and won a Grammy the following year. Anderson was even named vocalist of the year by the Country Music Association in 1971, but apparently she has been branching out a little bit recently and will be making a special guest appearance in court this November 20th.
Police say Lynn Anderson apparently went for a cocktail of booze and pills just before she crashed her vehicle late Thursday evening in Nashville, Tennessee. The responding officer said the 66-year-old diva admitted to have been drinking and that she had ingested prescription medications before the crash, and that ended pretty abruptly. Luckily for Anderson she was released Friday on $5,000 bond.
Bus Driver Busted Trying to Get Busy
Sometimes a bus fare is a little risqué in the Sunshine State. Florida bus driver Rodrigue Macharie, age 43, is accused of trying to pick up a prostitute while on duty. Macharie was arrested this past Thursday in Sarasota County when he solicited tried to practice soliciting prostitution from an undercover police officer working a sting around 9:45 a.m. on Tamiami Trail. The Florida bus driver, who works for the Sarasota County Area Transit shuttling disabled passengers to appointments, apparently wanted to spend the few 45 minutes to spare before his next pick-up spending some money on something he shouldn’t have.
“There was a period of disbelief when the bus pulled up and that it looked as if this was actually going to be a transaction,” said Sgt. Demetri Konstantopouls of the Sarasota Police Department.
Police said that Macharie paid the undercover officer $20 for an undisclosed sexual act, after which he was abruptly arrested and charged with soliciting a prostitute, go figure.
Authorities clarified the location of the alleged sexual solicitation. The bus driver was placed on administrative leave pending further investigation. Luckily Konstantopoulos said,
“He did not want to have the intercourse inside the bus.” Glad to hear it, those seats are SO uncomfortable anyway!
Pop Tart Cowboy
I don’t think this is what they mean when they call it ‘nose candy’ but who’s to say? On September 4th 30 year old Cameron Mitchell was arrested after allegedly selling an undercover agent in Halifax, North Carolina cocaine… a crushed-up Pop Tart that he claimed was cocaine.
Halifax County deputies say Mitchell was making a delivery to a convenience store when the incident occurred. The undercover officer claims that upon interacting with Mitchell, he had allegedly “agreed” to sell him some crack cocaine for $20… spoiler alert, it was false advertising!
Later on agents tested the powdery substance Mitchell allegedly sold them, and found out that it contained not one trace of cocaine, what a trickster! Police say that Mitchell had later admitted it was the only the crushed corner of a Pop Tart, which he only sold because he needed the money. Guess he never got the real meaning of ‘fake it until you make it’ as he was eventually charged with selling a counterfeit controlled substance and creating a counterfeit controlled substance.
Drunk as a Skunk
The term drunker than a skunk has a whole new meaning thanks to the famous Ohio wildlife. Apparently a poor woodland creature with a beer can stuck on its head had to be rescued near a fraternity house in southwestern Ohio. Why haze a skunk is what I’m asking.
Oxford police said a resident called about the skunk’s predicament, and imagine the reaction when local police found the animal banging around trying to get the can off and running into shrubs in a frantic and probably drunken stupor.
Skunks are known for the offensive spray they can emit when threatened. But Sgt. Jon Varley says an animal control officer was able to free the skunk without getting sprayed
Varley says the city about an hour’s drive northwest of Cincinnati have received calls before about skunks and other wild animals, but he insists this was the first one he knew of that had to be rescued from a beer can. I know plenty of people from Ohio, including myself, who have needed to be rescued from beer cans before, unfortunately I was not able to be set free by animal control, and I had to work a little more at it.
Some crazy stories seem just too much to be true, and sometimes when people in recovery think back we can relate with some of our own strange and not-so-sober stories. Being grateful not to be in some of these headlines is a pretty good feeling, and knowing that it is possible for anyone who has any kind of crazy story is even better. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135