"Ben had been drinking alone for days. He was in bad shape," a source tells PEOPLE of the days leading to Ben Affleck's return to rehab

Ben Affleck was on a downward spiral in the days leading to his return to rehab.

“Ben had been drinking alone for days,” a source tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “He was in bad shape. He had barely been eating and had not showered. It didn’t take much convincing. He wanted to go, and he cooperated.”

Affleck entered rehab on Aug. 22 with a second source telling PEOPLE, “He knew he needed help and was vocal about it.”

By his side was ex Jennifer Garner, also 46, who arrived at his home with an addiction therapist at her side. Garner drove the actor to a Malibu treatment center the same day.

Several sources say Affleck had in fact been struggling again for months, though he had been going to meetings and working with a sober coach for much of the last year.

Ben Affleck
| Credit: BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

“He’s battled addiction for a long time now,” says an Affleck source, noting the star had been “constantly working on himself” but after splitting with Lindsay Shookus in July “went into a darker and darker place until he had to reach out for help.”

The actor previously spent time in rehab in 2001 and 2017.

Affleck wrote on Facebook in 2017 after a previous stay in rehab: “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.”

For more information about Ben Affleck and his struggle with addiction, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday.

If you or someone you know is in need of help, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.