Ben Affleck is opening up about getting “second chances” in life after becoming sober.
Speaking with WSJ. Magazine, the Gone Girl actor candidly reflected on his personal journey toward overcoming alcoholism and the lessons that got him to where he is today.
“There’s a lot that I would want my younger self to understand. Some things, honestly, that I’m too self-conscious of or shy about to be really candid about with the whole world because they’re mostly mistakes,” Affleck told the outlet, according to People. “Things I wish I had done differently, and they’re rooted in that instinct to look at my past and think, I wish I could have avoided this painful event. I wish I could have not caused someone else pain. I wish I had understood better the nature of what was difficult about life for me.”
He added that, though he wishes he “did not have to learn some lessons the hard way,” the “difficulties” of alcoholism helped him “learn those things in an authentic, meaningful way to really learn the lessons that I’ve really internalised, that have created the values that I have now even though most of them were born of failure.”
He continued, “The only real cure for alcoholism is suffering. You just hope that your threshold for suffering is met somewhere before it destroys your life.”
Personally, his attitude toward life’s hard lessons has evolved in the past few years. “I used to be irritated by people who would say, ‘Oh, I have these problems and I’m grateful for them.’ I used to think, ‘This is bulls—. You’re not grateful for disasters, creating pain and wreckage in your life. Say you feel s—– about it and you wish you were better!'” said the Oscar-winning actor. “Only within the last five years, I really felt increasingly grateful for the difficulties that I’ve had. … It’s not insignificant, because a lot of that pain is rooted in pain caused to other people. And that turns out to be the most painful thing in life.”
Now, Affleck, who earlier this year reunited with his former fiancée Jennifer Lopez, is happy to get a “second chance.”
“Life is difficult, and we are always failing and hopefully learning from those failures,” he explained. “The one thing you really need to avail yourself of the opportunities provided from that growth is the second chance. I’ve definitely tried to take advantage of that. I haven’t always been successful, but in cases in which I have, they’ve turned out to be the defining aspects of my life.”
Affleck was previously married to Jennifer Garner, with whom he shares three kids: Violet, Seraphina, and Samuel Affleck. He and Garner divorced in 2018.
The actor has opened up about struggling with alcoholism before. In an interview with People last year, he shared, “When my life got stressful, which principally had to do with the disappointment and the pain that the divorce caused my children, that affected me profoundly.” He continued, “I didn’t want to see them hurt. I found myself drinking more and more at night at home by myself. It was something I was doing to avoid dealing with painful feelings. My parents got divorced when I was young. I know how painful that is.”
This article was originally published on menshealth.com.