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Batman, Alcoholic: Ben Affleck Admission of Alcohol Addiction

Batman, Alcoholic: Ben Affleck’s Admission of Alcohol Addiction

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.

Family Life

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.

Sober Supports

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.

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In the News: Dean McDermott Opens Up About Alcoholism and Cheating on Tori

In the News: Dean McDermott Opens Up About Alcoholism and Cheating on ToriSometimes the media just cannot paint the picture the way it needs to be portrayed. In the headlines of scandals and drama Dean McDermott of the Lifetime TV series True Tori and husband to stunning starlet Tori Spellings, has been treated like a fool and a pig, and I almost was right there believing it. But then I noticed he claims to be a real deal alcoholic. The revealing April 29th episode exposed a lot about Deans inner conflict pertaining to the scandal between the troubled two and their Hollywood heartbreak, and Dean gave an honest look at how the disease is devastating his life, then he goes on to follow up with describing the issue with substance abuse, and some of the mess starts to make sense.

Stepping Up About Stepping Out

When confronted about cheating on his wife of seven years with 28-year-old Emily Goodhand, the actor and reality star, 47, opens up about how he ended up in the dog house. He said “I didn’t think I would get caught”. At first I thought this guy was just being inconsiderate and a little arrogant, but after watching his discussion with his friend about the situation, McDermott did go on to talk about how the actions he has recently taken now put his home life and relationship with his loving wife in jeopardy, and how this all stems from an all too familiar fault in his ability to steer clear of abusing substances instead of facing his life and relationship. “I was drinking and using drugs. I was not dealing with things that happened to me in the past. McDermott sees that his addictive characteristics have gotten him into this position, and that his bad choices had him drinking and using before he checked himself into rehab last December. It’s not like I was looking for sex — our relationship and sex life is solid. I have a brain that wants to kill me. I have a brain that wants me dead”. Given this statement, it seems that Dean has some idea of how the disease of addiction affects his mentality and ultimately his life, and now the world sits and watches the process of him and Torri trying to rebuild.

Deans Delusion

McDermott sees that his addictive characteristics have gotten him into this position, and that his bad choices had him drinking and using before he checked himself into rehab last December, and he has openly admitted to falling into the traps any alcoholic or addict knows. The delusions the disease of addiction create for those who struggle with substance abuse that one can sustain and even succeed in active addiction. He went on to say, “That’s how the alcoholic mind works and thinks. You have a couple cocktails, do a couple lines… Then cut to the sunrise, it just never works out that way.” It is true that by believing he could use and drink freely, he puts himself in a position to fail, as someone who struggles with his self-control. He even admitted to having suicidal thoughts in the wake of the infidelity, and Tori expressed in a therapy session how afraid she was to show her anger because of how it may hurt Deans mental health. The fact that he sees what brought him to his desperate state may give him the opportunity to resist it in the future, but time will tell.

Picking Up the Pieces

The sad truth is that it usually takes something falling apart in order for an addict or alcoholic to put themselves and families back together. During this TV break down he opened up and admitted, “I am on the verge of losing everything that means anything to me in this world. My wife and my family,” and it is pretty clear the threat of his marriage not surviving this next year is bringing him closer and closer to another bottom. The underlining truth to this is that even in the pampered life, someone who chooses to cope with everything in a toxic way will inevitably hurt those around them. We often find our lives in places we never expected them to end up once we subject ourselves to drugs and drinking and follow that mind state. Torri herself goes on throughout the episode debating on if she can forgive her husband’s actions. The father of five— four kids with Spelling and one son with ex-wife Mary Jo Eustace—goes on to explain to his friend how easy it is to lose control, and how important it is for him to change his life and get back on track. I cannot help but find myself cheering this guy on and keeping my fingers crossed that he is able to find an amazing life and some level of sobriety, because I know first-hand how terrible it feels to be standing in his shoes, and how much peace and love someone can find in recovery. I may secretly find myself tuning in to Lifetime sometime soon to see how Deans doing.

If you of someone you love is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please call 1-800-951-6135

 

In the News: Johnny Depp Opens Up about Alcohol Use; Denies Being an Alcoholic

In the new issue of Rolling Stone, Johnny Depp opens up about his past alcohol use,  but unlike his infamous on-screen character, Captain Jack Sparrow, he says he is not an alcoholic. Depp denies ever having to depend on alcohol, though he made a conscious decision over a year ago to give up drinking.

“No, I don’t have the physical need for the drug alcohol,” he tells Rolling Stone. “No, it’s more my medication, my self-medication over the years just to calm the circus. Once the circus kicks in, the festivities in the brain, it can be ruthless.”

Depp, who just turned 50 last month, adds that his decision to give up alcohol stemmed from his own realization that though he was able to function just fine with alcohol on a day-to-day basis, he could manage almost just as well without it.

“I just decided that I pretty much got everything I could out of it,” he says about his drinking. “I investigated wine and spirits thoroughly, and they certainly investigated me as well, and we found out that we got along beautifully, but maybe too well.”

The actor, who created rules for himself like drinking wine but no hard liquor, found a partner in crime in the writer Hunter S. Thompson, who he would binge drink with for weeks.

“Maybe that’s why Hunter and I got along so well. I’m able to continue for great periods of time, weirdly. For weeks. There’s no great point to it, ultimately. You realize that you wouldn’t treat your car that way.”

Depp is so dedicated to his new pledge of sobriety, he says, that even after he split with longtime girlfriend Vanessa Paradis last year, he hasn’t been turning to alcohol the way that he might’ve for previous breakups.

“In terms of the breakup, I definitely wasn’t going to rely on the drink to ease things or cushion the blow or cushion the situation,” he explains. “Cause that could have been fatal. I felt it was my duty to be real clear throughout that.

The couple dated for 14 years and had two children together — Lily-Rose, 14, and Jack, 11.

If you or someone you love needs treatment for alcohol abuse, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.

 

Sources:

http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/johnny-depp-denies-being-an-alcoholic-i-dont-have-the-physical-need-for-the-drug-alcohol–2013206

http://www.showbizspy.com/article/259996/johnny-depp-denies-relying-on-alcohol.html

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