Benjamin “Ben” Higgins has recently opened up about his struggle with painkiller addiction, which he secretly battled in high school and college.
During an episode of “Addiction Talk” on Wednesday, the 32-year-old actor discussed his previous battle with prescription painkiller medications, which began after he had to undergo knee surgery as a teen.
He said, “The Bachelor gave me an insight into what vulnerability can do when done in an appropriate way. Sharing things that I’d never shared before, especially on national television kind of opened me up to a whole new world.”
“And as I shared more and more about my life and my insecurities, it actually became the thing that connected me with others,” The Bachelor star continued. “And so that gave me a new seeded kind of confidence in being vulnerable and then I knew there was one other thing that was really sitting there on my heart that I’d never shared — like you said, with family, with friends — was my struggle with addiction. And not just the addiction piece, but my struggle on where the addiction came from.”
“When I was young … I was a sophomore in high school, we would experiment, like, we would find at the time, like Tramadol, and we would take a bunch of those,” Higgins added. “But then it kind of stopped. It wasn’t really a thing in my life consistently after that.”
Higgins was on the football team in his junior year. However, he injured his knee and realized he was not able to play sports the same way ever again.
He said, “For me, that was a turning moment where I realized my identity, the thing that I had always counted on was going to be taken away.”
“I was already struggling with this lack of identity,” Higgins said. “And when I took the medication, I remember it being a numbing moment for me, like, when I was high, the depression or the mind, like, my mind wouldn’t wander, it just made me feel number or more maybe, even I can say, like, at peace, and so I just took them then to just rid myself of the pain emotionally that was inside of me. That was the start.”
At the time, he did not tell anyone about his problem. He said, “I was obviously feeling some type of shame because I wasn’t telling anybody about it, I was hiding it. … I think I just validated it. I think I continued to tell myself, ‘I don’t have a problem, that this is necessary, that this is the best thing for me right now.’”
He also admitted, “I was high all the time,” adding “it was all different kinds” of meds. “Say it was like a Vicodin, it could be upwards of six to seven throughout a day. You know, it was just always all the time. And then the more I had, the more I’d take.” The article was published on PEOPLE.