Inside Ben Affleck's Longtime Battle with Addiction — and What He's Said About It
Ben Affleck is back in rehab after first seeking treatment in 2001
Addiction is a long-running struggle for Ben Affleck — and he’s spoken out about it in the past.
Before entering rehab again on Wednesday, Affleck, 46, had been spotted attending meetings at various treatment centers and working with a sober coach over the last year. “There’s no shame in getting help,” he wrote in a Facebook post in 2017 after a previous stay in treatment.
Of his new stay in rehab, a source told PEOPLE, “He is seeking treatment. He knew he needed help and was vocal about it.”
“This is a lifelong battle, not one that he takes lightly,” an Affleck friend, who said he’s been in “continual” treatment, previously told PEOPLE.
Affleck’s first time in rehab was in 2001. In March 2017, he announced that he had completed treatment for alcohol addiction a second time.
“I have completed treatment for alcohol addiction; something I’ve dealt with in the past and will continue to confront,” Affleck wrote on Facebook. “I want to live life to the fullest and be the best father I can be. 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.”
In November 2017, Affleck ex Jennifer Garner and his brother Casey helped the actor go back into inpatient treatment for a few days.
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“He asked for help,” a family source told PEOPLE at the time. “He wants to be sober.”
Affleck has been open in the past about how his father’s alcoholism affected him growing up.
“[My father] was an alcoholic… I did know that as a child. He drank a lot. My father was a — what did they call him — a real alcoholic. He, you know, drank all day, drank every day, and to his credit, he got sober ultimately,” he told Barbara Walters in a 2012 interview. “He’s been sober for several decades, which I think is pretty impressive.”
“[He] turned his life around in a very laudable way,” Affleck told The Mail on Sunday in 2008. “But having such serious addiction issues has a major impact — it colors who you are and becomes a part of you.”
Affleck has credited his brother and best friend Matt Damon for helping him get through the tough times.
“I had good friends. I had Matt Damon, I had my brother, and I had a nucleus of friends that I grew up with and I had support from,” he told Walters.
Affleck has also been able to lean on Garner, 46, for support, despite their pending divorce.
“For Jen, it’s simple. She wants Ben to be the best dad possible to their kids,” Violet, 12, Seraphina, 9 and Samuel, 6, said a family source. “She wants Ben to be healthy.”
On Wednesday, Garner, 46, visited Affleck’s home and drove him to a treatment facility in Malibu.
A source tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue Garner’s focus remains on their children.
“What she ultimately cares about is his sobriety and whether she can rely on him to co-parent,” said the source.
While support from his loved ones helps, an industry source close to the actor previously told PEOPLE, “He is always going to have to face those demons. How he goes forward is strictly up to him.”
If you or someone you know is in need of help, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.