Addiction expert on why relapse speculation is harmful to those in recovery
A large number of media outlets and content creators have been discussing Ben Affleck’s behaviour at a recent movie premiere, as well as during the televised Grammy awards on Sunday night.The actor has once again become the focus of viral memes after appearing to look overwhelmed and exhausted during videos and images captured at both events. Some are also suggesting that videos of seemingly tense conversations with wife Jennifer Lopez are down to the fact that his drinking is causing issues between the couple, and that a possible relapse is taking its toll on their marriage.
Affleck has previously spoken publicly about his alcohol addiction and how his drinking habits spiralled after the end of his marriage to Jennifer Garner. He even attended rehab on multiple occasions in order to take control of his issues, with has latest stint taking place in 2018.
Below, Martin Preston, addictions expert and the founder of one of the UK’s leading private rehab clinics Delamere, discusses the dangers surrounding speculation that an individual in recovery has relapsed without any solid evidence or proof:
“As an A-List Hollywood celebrity who has been in the spotlight for more than 25 years, Ben Affleck is no stranger to the constant pressures and media attention that comes with stardom.
“However, as someone dealing with an alcohol addiction and facing the reality of recovery with constant media attention, speculation from thousands of people online you don’t know – and who don’t know you – will undoubtedly be causing a great deal of mental strain, and could even go someway in triggering a potential relapse.
“Recovering from alcoholism is by no means a straightforward or easy process for anyone, and there are a range of coping tactics and steps involved in maintaining sobriety following treatment .
“Here at Delamere, we work with patients to identify the key triggers that may cause someone in recovery to start drinking again. For some, this can be socialising with friends and family members who continue to consume alcohol around them. One must assume that in the case of Ben Affleck, attending glitzy Hollywood award shows and after-parties opens up a huge amount of temptation to return to past behaviours, which could account for his behaviour during the past few weeks.
“That being said, the dangers of others wrongly assuming or falsely stating that someone has ‘fallen off the wagon’ – even when they haven’t – could lead to feelings of perceived failure, and could even result in a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ that tempts them back into drinking alcohol as a coping method.
“If you believe a loved one may be experiencing a relapse, it may be hard for them to admit and reach out to you, so retaining your presence in someones life and remaining non-judgemental is key.
“Finding the right words or conversation starters can feel like a challenge if someone is in the midst of a relapse, but in certain situations some of the below questions and phrases may prove useful:
- “You are not a failure because you have had a relapse”
- “I will continue to support you on your recovery”
- “I know you tried to make this work”
- “How can I help you to move forward?”
- “You’ve done it once (or more) before; are you ready to try it again?”
Content courtesy of: https://delamere.com/addiction-treatment/alcohol-addiction