Last week, Ben Affleck released a statement on Facebook revealing to fans that he recently completed treatment at a rehab facility for alcohol addiction. This marks the second time that Affleck has gone public about seeking treatment; in 2001, he underwent a similar stint in rehab. But this time around, there is something unusual that's definitely worth noting.
Though this type of announcement is far from uncommon in Hollywood, the way Affleck shared the news was unexpected from an A-lister. It has often been said that celebrity rehab stays are more about rehabilitating the star’s image than making meaningful changes.
Take, for instance, the cliche of a celebrity getting some bad press after a regrettable night out, then suddenly announcing that substance abuse was involved and that treatment is forthcoming. Rehab can often be shorthand for little more than a PR cleanup. But going public about a trip to rehab after the fact shows a level of honesty—and, frankly, maturity—that's rare for this type of announcement.
Affleck's post read: “I have completed treatment for alcohol addiction; something I’ve dealt with in the past and will continue to confront… 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...”
Perhaps this newfound maturity comes from his role as a father or from the support of co-parent Jennifer Garner (who he also thanks in his statement), but Ben does seem to be putting his money where his mouth is. A private sojourn to rehab holds more weight than a highly public press conference, in our opinion, because it shows a commitment to the act of seeking treatment itself rather than a symbolic gesture.
With this statement, Affleck isn’t asking for applause or praise; he’s simply acting as a voice for those who have been afraid to admit their struggles with addiction. This is a far cry from the volatile, unpredictable outbursts we have sometimes seen from this star.
While this certainly represents an evolution in Affleck’s attitude, more importantly, it sends a strong message to those who may be currently struggling. While some still consider addiction to be a source of shame, Ben Affleck has made it clear through his statement that the only shame is in not seeking help. We applaud Affleck for setting such a positive example for both his children and his fans.
Maybe this will be the positive role model his brother Casey needs to handle his own struggles?