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Bachelor Star Ben Higgins Reveals His Past Addiction to Painkillers

Known on his season of The Bachelor for admitting he was in love with two contestants—a major franchise faux pas—Ben Higgins formerly worked in software sales, and attended Indiana University. He first appeared on television as a contestant on Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season of The Bachelorette, where he did not earn the final rose, but became a fan favorite after placing as the second runner-up.

Bachelor Nation was taken with Higgins’ good-natured personality, and that led to him becoming the Bachelor in 2016. Higgins ended up becoming engaged to Lauren Bushnell, though their relationship did not go the distance. The pair split up after nearly a year of engagement and a short stint on their own spin-off reality show.

After his break-up with Bushnell, Higgins went on to found his own coffee company, Generous Coffee, and participated regularly in Bachelor franchise events. Along with another former contestant, Ashley Iaconetti, he hosts a podcast that discusses various happenings in the Bachelor universe.

Recently, however, Higgins got personal about something he never revealed during his time on TV—he dealt with an addiction to painkillers in the past.

In his new memoir, Alone in Plain Sight: Searching for Connection When You’re Seen but Not Known, Higgins spoke about his addiction to Vicodin, which began after he underwent knee surgery in his teens. As a young athlete, Higgins played on his school football team, and struggled to find himself after the surgery left him unable to play.

During this time, Higgins hid his struggles from family and friends, and admitted that took up to seven pills a day. He had even stolen prescription pain medication from his grandfather–and the stealing made him come to the realization that he needed to get help.

In a Facebook Live interview with American Addiction Centers regarding his journey, 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.”

After coming clean about his addictions, Higgins faced some criticism from people online, who stated that he may be using his addiction as a ploy to “stay relevant.” Higgins had a strong reaction to the naysayers, and commented to Insider on “taboo” nature of speaking out.

Higgins isn’t the only member of Bachelor Nation who has admitted to struggling with addiction. Zac Clark, who recently became engaged to his season’s Bachelorette, Tayshia Adams, was open and honest about his past addictions from day one.

Higgins recently spoke to Insider about his positive impression of Clark, saying, “It was incredibly courageous of Zac to do that. And I know it’s not easy. I mean, I didn’t do it. I’m so proud of him as a person to have the confidence to share it.”

Seeing Clark’s public openness about his sobriety was perhaps an inspiration for Higgins to share his own story. Now sober for nine years, Higgins has much to be grateful for, including his upcoming wedding to longtime love Jessica Clarke. As he moves forward, having shared his story, he provides another beacon of hope to all those who are suffering from addiction—and, as he says, that’s all he was hoping to achieve.

“I knew that speaking out and speaking up on this would maybe help myself — and somebody else listening — just feel less alone. And that’s why I wanted to do it,” he told Insider.



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