“When I made eye contact with myself, I felt like the devil himself was staring back at me.”
Ben Higgins is opening up about his struggle with addiction for the first time.
In his new book, “Alone in Plain Sight: Searching for Connection When You’re Seen but Not Known,” released on Tuesday, the former Bachelor revealed he was addicted to painkillers in the past, noting that it began after he injured his knee in high school and subsequently underwent two surgeries.
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“I knew I needed to get off of them, but I found it hard to do when, after every surgery, I was prescribed them again,” Higgins wrote in the book, per E! Online. “In addition, a lot of the people I chose to hang out with at this stage of my life were also taking painkillers.”
“Getting off the painkillers became even more difficult when a different kind of pain hit,” he continued, noting that he was rejected from his top business college, his then-girlfriend cheated on him and that his father fell ill again.
Higgins said the “final piece of [his] dark puzzle fell into place” when he “started to treat people like objects that existed for my pleasure.”
“I don’t want to go into too much detail, but suffice it to say I used a young woman as nothing more than an object for my pleasure,” he recalled. “When it was over, I discarded her. I didn’t care about her story or her desire for a relationship that wasn’t just physical and lasted longer than one night. I didn’t care that I’d hurt her. All I cared about was myself.”
Although “The Bachelorette” alum said he doesn’t remember much from the mornings during his four-month period of “bedridden shame and darkness,” he was able to recall the moment when he had a breakthrough.
“When I made eye contact with myself, I felt like the devil himself was staring back at me. ‘Oh, God,’ I said out loud. ‘Who is this? This is not the man I ever wanted to be,'” Higgins wrote. “I really meant the words, ‘Oh, God.’ It was the first prayer I’d prayed in a very long time — and maybe the most honest prayer I’d ever uttered. … I confessed to God how empty my life had become and how I did not want to stay on this path. ‘If you are real,’ I cried, ‘save me from myself.'”
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While speaking with Us Weekly about his book, Higgins said it’s “hard,” “weird” and “still tough” that the public will now know about his past struggles. However, he noted that he hopes others can relate.
The reality star — who said it took him two years to write the book — also acknowledged how his ghostwriter helped him detail his battle with addiction.
“My ghostwriter would help me dig in a little bit more because there was a moment in time I kind of plateaued and was kind of going too surface on stuff,” Higgins said. “I had to bring him in toward the end to help me … [and] to ask the right questions.”
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Meanwhile, also in his book, Higgins opened up about what went down toward the end of his relationship with Lauren Bushnell, revealing they ultimately broke up over the phone.
If you recall, Higgins and Bushnell became engaged at the end of the former’s season on “The Bachelor” back in 2016. The former couple went on to have their own spinoff series, “Ben and Lauren, Happily Ever After?”
According to Higgins, the show’s title had a question mark because producers “sensed there was trouble in paradise.”
“By the time ‘Happily Ever After?’ came along, there wasn’t a lot of joy left in our relationship. Tension and pain had taken its place,” he recalled in his book, which he previously said Bushnell signed off on. “Neither of us was happy, but we were still doing our best to make the relationship work. We went to couple’s therapy and counseling, yet, no matter how many steps forward we took, it seemed something would hit us and we’d be right back to confusion and doubt.”
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When Higgins and Bushnell ended their engagement in May 2017, he claims the two decided to do it over the phone, with Higgins saying it “felt far healthier” not to do it in person.
“By the end we were barely speaking. The breakup itself came over the phone. If you wonder how you can end an engagement with a phone call, believe me when I say that both of us preferred it that way,” Higgins wrote. “Neither of us needed another tortured, face-to-face conversation about our relationship. It was like our time on the show never really ended. At least, not the bad part. When the time came finally to throw in the towel, doing it in a phone call felt far healthier for both of us.”
Following his split with Bushnell, Higgins went on to star on “The Bachelor Winter Games” in 2018 but left the show early. He’s been in a relationship with Jessica Clark since November 2018 and the two became engaged last March. Bushnell, meanwhile, is currently expecting her first child with her husband, country star Chris Lane.
Despite the fact that he and his ex are both in serious relationships, Higgins said, “Strangers still ask me about [Bushnell] and why we broke up.”
“Alone in Plain Sight” is available now.
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