Ben Affleck’s Drinking Problem Wasn’t Jennifer Garner’s Fault

Blaming your ex-wife for your alcohol addiction is a serious red flag.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner

by Grazia |

Between apologising for groping someone on screen and asking a TV host to ‘get them titties out', Ben Affleck is hardly one of Hollywood's most unproblematic stars.

Still, it was a surprise when Affleck seemed to blame his former wife of ten years, mother of his three children, and the woman that literally drove him to rehab, Jennifer Garner, for his alcohol addiction.

Speaking to The Howard Stern Show, he claimed: ‘I’d probably still be drinking [if married to Garner]. It’s part of why I started drinking — because I was trapped. I was like: “I can’t leave because of my kids but I’m not happy, what do I do?” What I did was drink a bottle of scotch and fall asleep on the couch, which turned out not to be the solution.’ … You think, Ben?

Aside from the fact it’s wildly toxic and unjust to publicly blame someone that’s only ever supported you for your addiction, it’s also blindingly obvious that the actor - who visited rehab for the first time in 2001 - had issues with alcohol long before he married Jen in 2005.

Additionally, playing the blame game proves that, troublingly, Affleck hasn’t healed at all. London-based Addiction Councillor, Mark Dempster tells Grazia: ‘If addicts blame their partners, then they’re not taking responsibility for their behaviour. Therefore, it reinforces their denial and prevents them from getting well.

‘In order to get better you have to take responsibility and break down that denial. By shucking the responsibility, addicts reinforce their dysfunctional behaviour,’ he explains.

By shucking responsibility, addicts reinforce their dysfunctional behaviour

Despite splitting from Affleck in 2015 and finalising their divorce two years later, Garner selflessly drove her estranged husband to rehab in 2018 when he hit rock bottom.

A source heartbreakingly told Entertainment Tonight at the time: ‘Jen set boundaries, she did everything to help him. She stuck by him and gave him ultimatums, but he’d eventually fall off the wagon. He would go back to partying and gambling and she would try again. This has been going on for years.’

This cycle of optimism and disappointment that comes with supporting an addict is exhausting. The strain can cause mental health issues for those around them as they panic about their loved one’s safety and how to help them. Whether intentionally or not — an addict monopolises the thoughts of those closest to them.

When Garner took Affleck to rehab, she arrived at his house with a lawyer and a bible to stage an intervention. Before bringing him outside, she pleaded with photographers: ‘Can you guys do me a favour just out of respect can you give us some space. Just give us a minute. It’s bad enough. It’s hard enough.’

While she drove him to the treatment centre, he aggressively shouted: ‘I don’t care, I don’t care,’ as she tried to hand him food that she’d stopped to buy him. Throughout the ordeal, she remained composed and patient, only hinting at distress by raising an anxious hand to her mouth and concealing her eyes with large dark glasses… Yet, this is who he seemingly wants to blame for his problems? Serious red flag.

Understandably, Twitter has leapt to Garner’s defence. ‘Just because you're sober (with the help of your ex-wife), doesn't mean you can be arrogant. Which you are these days,’ wrote an outraged fan. ‘One day the word accountability will mean something to you,’ criticised a second. Meanwhile, another simply stated: 'Ben Affleck confirms... he is still the worst.'

But somehow, through it all, Garner has maintained grace and decorum most of us could only dream of. Advising her fans to call off the dogs, she told Vanity Fair of Ben’s ongoing questionable behaviour: ‘People have pain — they do regrettable things, they feel shame, and shame equals pain. No one needs to hate him for me. I don’t hate him.’

READ MORE: Comparing JLo And Jennifer Garner Is Classic Misogyny, So Why Are People Doing It?

Ben Affleck Says Divorce From Jennifer Garner Is ‘The Biggest Regret Of My Life’

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