Ben Affleck leaves rehab for festive season

The actor checked into an unknown facility at the beginning of the month to seek treatment for his substance abuse.

FILE: Ben Affleck. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - Ben Affleck was allowed to leave rehab for the festive season.

The 45-year-old actor checked into an unknown facility at the beginning of the month to seek treatment for his substance abuse and, although he takes his programmes very seriously, he was given permission to freeze his plan so he could spend Christmas with his children - Violet, 12, Seraphina, eight, and Samuel, five, whom he has with estranged wife Jennifer Garner - and his girlfriend Lindsay Shookus.

According to the New York Post newspaper’s Page Six column, Affleck was spotted tucking into a tasty meal at Nobu in Malibu, California, on Tuesday.

The sources said Affleck stayed sober throughout the meal but is expected to return to his rehab facility at the beginning of the year in order to complete his treatment.

Affleck first sought treatment for his substance abuse in 2001 and completed a second program earlier this year, before returning to the centre for help in December.

A source said: “Affleck’s main priorities have never wavered. He’s focused on his family and spending time with Shookus. Dealing with this disease is something he’ll have to work on for the rest of his life and he remains focused on it.”

It comes after the Justice League star posted on Facebook to state he was seeking help for his issues in order to show his kids there is “no shame” in getting help.

He wrote at the time: “I want to live life to the fullest and be the best father I can be. 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.

“I’m lucky to have the love of my family and friends, including my co-parent, Jen, who has supported me and cared for our kids as I’ve done the work I set out to do. This was the first of many steps being taken towards a positive recovery.”

And just last month, sources claimed Affleck understands that his struggle with alcoholism is an “ongoing battle”, but insisted he was “making strides toward recovery”.

They said: “He has learned that dealing with his addiction is an ongoing battle. He understands he cannot just wake up one morning and say, ‘OK, we’re all done.’ Treatment is like a job... The good thing is that he’s making strides toward recovery. Friends and family have never seen Affleck so proactive and serious about wanting to get better.”