Wes Bentley, who played Seneca Crane in The Hunger Games, wishes he had heard a story like him own when he was younger. In his words, “This would have helped me, at least, if someone would have made me realize that you don’t need to do drugs to be artistic and express yourself. If you want to be artistic, if you want to be creative, if you want to express yourself, you can’t let things get in your way, and drugs are included in that.”
Wes feels he was given a second chance at a real acting career with the role in The Hunger Games. He has come clean about his alcoholism and addiction so that his story can help those looking up to him.
American Beauty Success
After the success of American Beauty, Wes was overwhelmed by his instant fame. He was 20 years old, and although it was what he wanted, Wes could not handle it. He started turning down opportunities to work with top directors, which he describes as putting up a wall, and he did not bring his A-game when he did sign on for certain film roles.
Wes has disclosed that he first had a problem with alcohol. One night he recalls drinking a whole bottle of Scotch by himself and thinking, “I’m going to die in this hotel room.” That night lead him to finally admit to a friend, “’I’m a drug addict, and an alcoholic, and I need help. I need help or I’m going to die.”
Serious Heroin Problem
At other times he was so addicted to heroin that he could not function without it. Wes missed his own brother’s wedding when he was living the life of full blown addiction. He would nod off on set while filming a big budget movie, he was asked to leave auditions mid-way through a read, and he was risking his life to get more drugs. Wes said he was riding around with homeless guys or men just released from prison in the hopes of finding the best heroin around.
The Hunger Games star also battled cocaine addiction. He learned that once you have progressed to addiction, any substance will substitute for your true drug of choice. Depending on what drug was around, and what kind of night he was looking to have, Wes would drink to excess, or use cocaine or heroin continuously.
Filming Four Feathers
When filming The Four Feathers, Wes became good friends with Heath Ledger. Wes expresses it as, “”Heath was an essential piece of my life. At one point we were as close as two people could get without being blood.” It can be assumed that the two used together, so when Heath died of a drug overdose a few years later, Wes was devastated. At almost 35 years old, Wes has been sober for four years now. He is married and has a son.
The man, who at one point did not care about whether he lived or died, is now thrilled to have a second chance at the life he always wanted. “I can’t believe that I’m alive, much less than I’m able to do the things I’m able to do just on a daily basis. Back then I was stuck. I literally physically couldn’t move before and now I have a son and I’m back in the sunlight.”
Getting sober was not easy for Wes, but he is now so grateful that drugs and alcohol are no longer a part of his life. “It helps to be sober and be in this world. Not just sober meaning not drinking and doing drugs, but my mind is sober. I’m clear about my life now. I actually really want to be a part of great projects like this and I actually enjoy the promotion aspects of it now. I’ve found out I do like that stuff.”
When people turn to alcohol and drugs for creativity, for escape, to numb pain, or to cope with difficult situations, substance abuse quickly progresses to addiction. As is clear from Wes Bentley’s life, Heath Ledger’s untimely death, and the countless other celebrities we see destroying their bodies and brains, addiction is powerful.
If Left Untreated
When left untreated, the disease of addiction will cause adverse consequences. Loss of jobs, relationships, financial security, mental health, physical health, and confidence are just the start. Overdose, fatal or not, is inevitable when tolerance goes up and you need more of a substance to get the same high. Wes is one of the lucky ones who got out of addiction alive and he intends on using his second chance for good.
Learn more about addiction treatment offered through Sovereign Health: