Ben Affleck continues to share his vulnerability in discussing his experience with addiction.  The interview with Diane Sawyer is bringing a lot of positive attention for Ben, with people thanking him for being open about his experiences with addiction as a man in the spotlight.  The fact that Ben’s interview and openness is bringing positive attention provides hope that the stigma on addiction is fading.  Ben’s bravery, along with so many others in the spotlight such as Eminem, Robert Downey Jr. and Elton John, is helping to pave the way in showing that recovery is possible and available to anyone.


Addiction and Mental Health

Ben has been struggling with anxiety and depression since his mid-twenties, trying many different therapies and medications to help him with his mental health.  As many of us know, addiction is often co-morbid with a mental health diagnosis.  As we often see, and is discussed by Ben as well, mental health and addiction often run within family systems and are genetic in origin.  For some, the addiction becomes a way to self-medicate the mental health symptoms.

Ben describes his routine in maintaining his mental health and recovery and describes himself as someone who likes to have meaning and purpose.  He discusses his spirituality, and although he doesn’t consider himself religious, he finds it important to attend church with his children, a tradition that started during his previous marriage.


Having Regrets

 In the interview, Ben talks about having regrets and sometimes wanting to go back and change things in his past, from divorce to not being present for his children.  However, he has chosen to learn from his mistakes and move forward in his recovery and is also dedicated to speaking out about his experiences in an effort to help others.  Instead of dwelling in his past, he chooses to learn and continue to take steps ahead, as many of us often have to do in recovery as the pain of living in the past is too painful.


Living in Hope

The biggest part of Ben’s message is to live in hope because regret can be the thief of your joy.  This is one of the most important aspects for someone in recovery to practice.  In order to heal, we need to place our focus not on the things we’ve done or how much pain we’ve caused, but rather how we can take steps to heal that pain in ourselves and others.  As Ben discusses, finding joy and creating joy are the two biggest parts of the healing process.  In the interview, not only can you feel the pain as Ben talks about his life, you also experience the gratitude in his message.  Experiencing addiction or a relapse is painful but getting out of the addiction and using that pain as a motivator to grow and succeed is possible, whether you’re a celebrity in the spotlight or a regular person in an everyday life.

Regardless of your experiences with addiction and mental health, or your family history or genetics, you have a chance to change the cycle and create your own narrative on a new journey.  There’s a lot we can learn from Ben’s interview with Diane Sawyer, but the biggest take-away is that the lie is dead, recovery is possible.