Ben Affleck was an ‘alcoholic’ after last marriage fell apart

Ben Affleck: Hollywood star talks about his Batman exit

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The 50-year-old Batman star has gone to rehab multiple times for his alcohol addiction throughout the years, with his latest stint being in 2018 – the year when his 13-year relationship with Garner was over. “I drank relatively normally for a long time,” Ben Affleck told The New York Times in 2020. “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.”

Taking a deep sigh, Affleck added: “It’s not particularly healthy for me to obsess over the failures — the relapses — and beat myself up.”

The father-of-three revealed “there’s a lot of alcoholism and mental illness” in his family.

“It took me a long time to fundamentally, deeply, without a hint of doubt, admit to myself that I am an alcoholic,” Ben Affleck said. “The next drink will not be different.”

The warning signs of alcoholism

Drinkaware explained alcoholism “describes a strong, often uncontrollable, desire to drink”.

The alcohol use disorder will lead to a physical tolerance, where the person affected will need to drink “more and more” to feel a similar effect.

Sometimes a person can be “secretive about their drinking, and may become angry if confronted”.

Three key signs of alcohol dependency

  1. Impaired control over alcohol use
  2. Giving increasing priority to alcohol
  3. Unwanted physical or mental effects from drinking

Impaired control over alcohol use

  • Drinkaware elaborated that this might mean not being able to:
  • Control how long a drinking session is
  • Moderate how much alcohol you consume when you do drink
  • Control how frequently you drink
  • Stop drinking once you start, or drinking on inappropriate occasions or at inappropriate places.

Giving increasing priority to alcohol

This can look like:

  • Giving precedence to drinking over other daily activities and responsibilities
  • Drinking is more important to you than looking after your health
  • Carrying on drinking despite negative consequences for your health or life.
  • Unwanted physical or mental effects from drinking

This might mean:

  • Increased tolerance to alcohol
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
  • Using alcohol to prevent or alleviate withdrawal symptoms.

“A doctor may diagnose alcohol dependence when they see two or more of the above symptoms based on an ongoing pattern of how you use alcohol,” Drinkaware stated.

How to treat alcohol dependency

The “first step” is for the drinker to acknowledge there is a problem with their alcohol use.

The “second step” is to seek professional help, usually via a local GP surgery, who can refer the drinker to a specialist.

Ongoing treatment can include: detoxification (meaning to abstain from alcohol), cognitive behavioural therapy, joining mutual help groups, and pharmacological treatments.

“If someone close to you is displaying signs of alcohol dependence, it can be difficult to know what to do,” Drinkaware added.

“If you can, talk honestly with the person you’re concerned about, and try to persuade them to see a doctor.”

Alcohol support services can be accessed nationwide with Turning Point Directory.

Other services include: SMART Recovery Meeting Finder, Rehab Online, and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Meeting Finder.

Ben Affleck stars in The Sum of All Fears, which airs on Sunday, Sept 4 at 9pm on Film 4.

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