Ben Affleck: addiction superhero

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I have to confess I am not a Ben Affleck fan. I tend to avoid movies that have him in it. However, right now I am giving him a standing ovation.

You may have seen his brief, but poignant Facebook statement about his recent stay in rehab. In case you missed it, here it is:

“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 may seem trivial, but what is amazing about his post, is how positive and how lacking in shame it is.

I’m so tired of the celebrity rock bottom/rehab/trite confession to Opera cycle. Addiction is a medical issue, a disease of the brain and a mental health problem. It is not a moral issue and we really need to stop treating it like one. This is not unlike other celebrities issuing statements to let people know have sought treatment for Lupus/breast cancer/Diabetes. But when it comes to addiction, celebrities are usually hounded and shamed into admitting they have an alcohol/drug problem. This has not been helpful to ordinary people who suffer from the same illness. Shame stops people seeking treatment when they need it. Hiding our disease in the myth of anonymity/secrecy keeps everyone sick. His honesty, straightforwardness and lack of shame, gives everyone else permission to do the same.
Ben Affleck has treated addiction like the disease it is, may others follow.

3 thoughts on “Ben Affleck: addiction superhero

  1. Jill

    It was good to see this brave statement. The sooner people realise it is an actual illness and not a weakness.. Many like myself never admitted I needed help. I kept my recovery quiet and only told a chosen few. Stupid really when it was obvious to all I had a problem. Working in the medical profession I found it difficult. Very few professionals thought of it as an illness. In fact many suffered the illness themselves. I hope this admission by a well know celebrity will help others to seek help. I found it a very long and lonely road. But so worth it in the end. A life beyond my wildest dreams, as promised.

  2. Clifford Edwards

    I guess I’m the other side of the coin; I like his movies! Well, some of them…

    The disease model is one way to look at it, it works for some. I struggled with the idea for a while, unable to divorce the perceived marriage of an addiction issue with a ‘real’ disease like cancer or herpes. The simple hyphen made it clear to me: it was a matter of dis-ease. I used whatever I could to medicate my anxiety, anger, frustration, anything uncomfortable. I just learned to live with my pain, to take it less personally. There are many ways to achieve this and it’s a hard sell; “Learn to live with your suffering!”. But none of us are immune to suffering, addicted or not.

    Whatever we call it, there are certain principles that help, honesty being the first and foremost.

    Thanks for the read, enjoy your journey!

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