Ben Affleck, the latest big screen version of Batman, has checked himself into rehab for the third time.
You may find it shocking to read I’m not surprised by the news. When a person is under the enormous pressure that I assume someone in his position is, with a divorce still being finalized, visitation with kids to arrange, trying to remain successful in a career and just life in general, things happen.
This isn’t about Ben Affleck and his struggle, it’s about the struggles we all face on a daily basis and how we deal with them. These struggles get overwhelming and, as human beings, we try to cope with the struggles. Some of us turn to alcohol, drugs or a number of other escapes.
I’m human and I’m not immune to struggles. I deal with the same types of crud all of us face. Often times I don’t deal with the struggles well, and I’m grateful I’ve never gotten addicted to substances.
Addiction can hurt your health, reputation, relationship, and more, but just as it happens to those around us every day, it can happen to any of us at any time if we’re not careful.
As men, I think we feel enormous pressure to be successful and perform well at our jobs so we can support our families and ourselves. When things don’t go our way, we get depressed and when we get depressed we turn to things to help us feel better.
I wish I could say the things we turn to are always positive, but they’re not. Because we see ourselves as horrible or less of a person, we’re in a ton of pain. Sometimes that pain is internal while other times it’s physical pain. No matter what kind of pain we’re in we look and see what will fill the void in our lives and numb that pain.
Addictions are a way to numb the pain and fill a void. It doesn’t have to be drugs, alcohol, gambling, or pornography—the four things we think about most when we talk about addiction.
For some people, the addiction could be shopping. Retail therapy is another big way people try to deal with their problems and besides creating an enormous amount of debt, sometimes that debt gets so severe the person can never get out from under it.
Addiction is a vicious circle. We have this pain, we try to numb it and at some point we need more of whatever we’re using to numb it, then a little more and it keeps going on until the addiction has caused other problems in our life. This only makes us more depressed and then the circle starts all over again, only this time it’s probably more severe.
For many, they find the strength on their own to seek treatment and for others, it’s loved ones who gather the strength and are able to get the person into treatment. Getting them to treatment isn’t enough, the person with the addiction has to be willing to go along with the treatment and get better.
Depression is usually the beginning of an addiction and as a high-functioning autistic; I can say that depression is around me constantly. I tend to get frustrated over the tiniest things and want to lash out. When depression hits me hardest, I crawl into bed and pray that the pain is gone when I get up. Often it isn’t.
So, how do we stop the addiction before it starts? Talk to someone or more than one person about what’s causing you to feel like you want to drink, smoke or whatever your vice of choice is.
These people can be psychologists, therapists, clergy, close friends, family members and others who have shared your same struggles. If you’re a religious person, ask friends and those you can trust to pray for you. If religion isn’t your thing, do your best to find something else to fill your time and thus your own personal void.
If nothing in the above paragraph works, go online and find hotlines or other places with people to talk to about your struggles. Men hate admitting that we have problems, but in my opinion, a real man is someone who is willing to face their demons and fight to overcome them.
Ben Affleck is simply an example of a public figure who is in the current news cycle. My intention isn’t to defame or mock him in any way. I feel awful that he is going through this for the third time in his life.
In case you’re wondering why I mentioned Batman in the title, it’s because when it comes to comic book characters, Batman is about as tough as they get. His only superpowers are bravery, tenacity, and willpower. Yes, he does have some pretty sweet toys, too.
As a comic book nerd, I like the character of Batman because he stands for what’s right and is willing to step in front of someone who has powers greater then he has and he battles that foe with everything he’s got.
Addiction is the foe many of us face and, though most if us aren’t as tough as the Caped Crusader, we can stand our ground and do our best to fight addiction. Sometimes we win and other times we lose the fight, but just the act of trying to fight the addiction should be applauded.
Batman doesn’t always take on the bad guy—addiction, in this case—alone. He has the rest of the Justice League there to back him up and help him in his fight. As much as depression tells us we’re alone, most of us have a Justice League of sorts to help us with the fight.
Whether or not you’re alone in the fight, please seek out help at the first signs of addiction. No matter where you live, you can find a phone number to call and talk with someone who understands and wants to help.
- Your insurance provider may have nurse advice lines and these can be good starting points as they can help you find the treatment you need. Check your insurance card for the phone number as a place to start.
- If you do not have insurance, Google “addiction help near me” for a list of resources.
- If the two above don’t render options for you, check out SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357). SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
Don’t let addiction overtake and ruin your life. Be a Batman and take the fight to the addiction. It’s a battle that can be won, though in some instances it may take several rounds of fighting before you finally win.
I know it sounds cliché, but help is only a phone call away. If you even think you’re struggling with addiction, please pick up the phone and call an advice line, a hotline or a close friend who can help you get your life back on track.
Finally, remember that the true sign of a man is not being afraid to seek out help when we need it and admit that we need help.
SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-days-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
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