“People with compulsive behavior, and I am one, have this kind of basic discomfort all the time that they’re trying to make go away,” Affleck explained while discussing his battle with addiction. “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.”
As RadarOnline.com readers know, Affleck has been in out of rehab various times throughout the years, starting in 2001. Still, his boozing got much worse in 2015 and 2016, when he was having issues at home with Garner.
“I drank relatively normally for a long time. What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart,” he said, adding that "my drinking, of course, created more marital problems.”
The stars — who share three children together — separated soon after, though they didn’t finalize their divorce until 2018, after the internet was rocked by disturbing photos of Garner driving Affleck to rehab.
“The biggest regret of my life is this divorce,” Affleck told the publication. “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.”
In October 2018, Affleck admitted on Instagram that he was getting treatment for his alcoholism and “fighting for myself and my family.” Though he remained sober for one year, he relapsed in October 2019, after attending a star-studded Halloween party with fling Katie Cherry.
“Relapse is embarrassing, obviously,” he said. “I wish it didn’t happen. I really wish it wasn’t on the internet for my kids to see. Jen and I did our best to address it and be honest.”
Affleck attended rehab in 2001, 2017, 2018 and 2019. In his interview, he admitted that after growing up with addiction in his family (including an alcoholic father), it took him a long time to admit to himself that he is a struggling alcoholic.
“It’s not particularly healthy for me to obsess over the failures — the relapses — and beat myself up,” the actor said. “I have certainly made mistakes. I have certainly done things that I regret. But you’ve got to pick yourself up, learn from it, learn some more, try to move forward.”
While continuing his recovery, Affleck is getting ready to debut his new film The Way Back, on March 6. In the long-awaited sports drama he plays a drunk high school basketball coach who shatters his marriage and lands in rehab.
To say the plot hits home is an understatement. Talking to the New York Times, the film’s director, Gavin O'Connor, said it was tough to watch Affleck channel his issues with alcohol and confront his on-screen wife about breaking up their relationship knowing that he likely had similar conversations with Garner.
“It was really important, without being mawkish or false, that he make amends to her — that he take accountability for the pain that he and only he has caused,” Affleck said of a scene in which he apologizes to his on-screen wife played by Janina Gavankar.
O’Connor said Affleck had a “total breakdown” on set after completing the scene.
“It was like a floodgate opened up,” he explained. “It was startling and powerful. I think that was a very personal moment in the movie. I think that was him.”