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Ben Affleck: Regrets, Shame And Making Amends


Well, I recently stumbled upon a NY Times article about Ben Affleck. Called „Ben Affleck Tried to Drink Away the Pain. Now He’s Trying Honesty“  and written by Brooks Barnes, it’s clearly a sympathy puff piece aimed at clearing Ben’s public image and promoting his new movie. The Way Back.

Not that there’s anything new about it. Celebrities have been exposing their skeletons from their closet in the past too. Their dirty laundry if you will has been out for so long that it’s not even a news to us. But why is Ben different? He’s not to be honest, but this is it piece of info that i can relate to. Yeah he has a very good PR crisis team as well, but that’s beside the point. It’s the message that he’s putting out there. It’s his redemption attempt, i think. And in that piece, for the most part he talks about his private life, not his career moves, but it’s good read nonetheless. His embarrassing events like his divorce from Jennifer Garner, his battle with alcoholism, his relapse and his not so stellar dating life since his divorce. Oh and his upcoming movie. But I’ll get to that.

But the thing that really struck a chord in me were his regrets, his shame and his attempts at making amends with the world that he abandoned in the wake of the disease. And believe me, I’ve had them as well, so I can really empathize with him on that.

“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.” Ben Affleck says in this interview, and I know that all too well.

In my case I drank because of my depression, anxiety and loneliness were waging a war inside my head, and the alcohol (Vodka was my drug of choice) accelerated all of that to 100 when the shame, the pain and the mental struggles kicked in. And you start that all over again. You also drink to forget that, but the truth is you cannot stay drunk all of the time. Believe me, I tried. In a sober state the realization of your actions kicks in and like I said you have to start everything all over again. It’s the hardest part of being an addict. The vicious circle of forgetting the pain and the shame.

I was fortunate to find love and get married after I became sober, and thankfully didn’t had to go through a divorce like he did, but I did had to go through many regrettable things with my family. I’ll never forgive myself for worrying them with my vice and for refusing any help. But I guess, every addict need to start helping himself first before he/she lets anyone else help. Like the first step says… You need to acknowledge that you have a problem. Before you do that every inkling of getting help is futile.

“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.” Ben adds and it’s right. Once you’re an addict there’s a secrecy and shame that is only perpetuated by your self-loathing. Nobody must know about your vices, and failures, because you already feel like a piece of shit. Making that knowledge public is really not necessary.

I can certainly see the regrets that Ben Affleck has just by reading this piece of writing. And I can even go so far as saying that this is his „Making Amends“ attempt. He and so many like him share regrets on a similar level. Yeah, Ben may be rich and famous but he’s none the less and addict just like I was and so many of you are. He may afford the best rehab centers in the world, but the road to sobriety and staying sober is basically the same for everyone. And just like me, and you and pretty much everyone else, he too had plenty of relapses. The only difference is that his relapses are going on TMZ, but I guess that’s the price of being a celebrity. Even your private struggles are public.

And in the end, I love that his first movie of 2020 is The Way Back. The premise of the movie shares striking similarities with personal struggles, and I really like that. He plays a former student basketball player, now an adult struggling with alcoholism, who’s offered a coaching job at his alma mater. Not bad ha? He’s not Phil Jackson per se, but he’s done the research on the rest, and i think that it will be a good coping tool for him, at the very least. And if it turns out that it’s a decent movie (premieres on March 6th) we’re just might be looking at a post-Batman comeback that Ben Affleck deserves.


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