When Ben Affleck recently disclosed that he had completed treatment for alcohol abuse, it was not anything that the public hadn’t heard before. The actor, writer and director has experienced a long and documented battle with alcohol, going back to a previous stint in treatment in 2001. Perhaps the most impactful part of his announcement is the reinforcement that recovery truly is a lifelong endeavor, and that even after years of continued sobriety, addicts may need a little more assistance to help them stay on track, or get back there after a relapse; many of us have experienced this cycle in our own lives.
Affleck’s announcement also reminds us all that there is no shame in admitting you need treatment, no matter how far along you are in recovery. The Dawn of Justice star, who disclosed his recent completion of rehab on his Facebook page last Tuesday, citing his desire to be the best father he can be, said he wanted his children to know that there is no shame in getting help when you need it; this is a message that more and more new addicts can stand to heed, as many let the fear of stigma stop them from getting help before their substance abuse spirals out of control into full-blown dependency.
Affleck is certainly not alone in his need for later-in-recovery treatment. Relapse, even among those in long-term recovery, are estimated to be anywhere from 50-90 percent, according to some studies. This is why it’s important to be diligent in monitoring everyday progress and vulnerability to temptation. Complacency and over confidence is often the first step on the road to a setback. Like so many who find themselves in such a position, Affleck was moved to do the responsible thing and recognize that he was once again in danger of completely losing control, and got the reinforcement he needed to continue living his life and preserving his relationship with his family.
Many believe that the further they get from the day of their last drink or cycle of drug use, the less they need to work their recovery program. Eventually, however, life often starts to creep back in and they find themselves battling the same issues as the last time they sought help. It’s not out of the ordinary or in any way shameful to admit you need a little more help, even after years of sobriety. The only way we can permanent insulate ourselves from the prospect of relapse is to give recovery all we have every day.