After Ben Affleck relapsed in October, the actor knew he had to make a change in his life — especially for his children. “I took the last half of the year off, and I just got to be dad,” he tells Diane Sawyer during an appearance on Good Morning America on Thursday, February 20. “Drive them to school, pick them up, go to the swim meet — that is where parenting happens.”

The 47-year-old Hollywood star — who shares Violet, 14, Seraphina, 11, and Samuel, 7, with his ex-wife, Jennifer Garner — continued to explain why being present with his kids is so important. “It’s in the moments — you just take them back from soccer, they talk about something really profound, how they are feeling about something, and it’s like, that is where you get to be the parent,” he says. “That is the joy of it. That is what I don’t want to miss.”

Ben Affleck and his children Seraphina and out and about
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Ben also got candid about how alcoholism runs in his family and how his father was “drunk every day” during a pivotal time in his life. “I always said that would never be me,” he confesses. “I am never going to do that. I wish [my father] had been sober during those formative years but what he has taught me is how important it is for me to be sober now during these formative years for my kids.”

Ben and the 13 Going on 30 alum, 47, announced their split in 2015 and finalized their divorce in 2018 but have remained friendly over the years. The former flames are frequently pictured with their kiddos at church or running errands in California.

Despite calling it quits, the Good Will Hunting alum revealed his “biggest regret” is getting a divorce from the actress. The mom of three “was surprised” by his comment, a source told In Touch exclusively. She “is touched by his honesty. She’s impressed he’s taken ownership of his mistakes and sees it as a sign that he’s made huge progress.”

Ultimately, the brunette beauty is “proud of Ben for cleaning up his act,” the insider added. “It’s been a long hard process, but he’s finally on the straight and narrow, and she’s proud of him for staying strong.”

Ben Affleck Jennifer Garner
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These days, the producer is “doing my very, very best,” and “it has to be good enough,” he tells GMA. “I don’t really have a choice. I have to be the man I want to be at this point. I don’t have any more room for failure of that kind.”

Kudos to Ben for owning up to his mistakes.