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LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 14: Actor Ben Affleck and actress Jennifer Garner pose during the 16th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on January 14, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for VH1)

I guarantee BEN AFFLECK wishes he had this one back:  On “The Howard Stern Show” this week, he kind of blamed his drinking problem on JENNIFER GARNER. . . or at least their MARRIAGE.

He said, quote, “We grew apart.  We had a marriage that didn’t work.  This happens.”  He added that he loves and respects Jennifer, and they tried . . . but ultimately they didn’t want their kids to grow up with parents who hated each other.

That all sounds reasonable, but then, Ben said he’d probably, quote, “still be drinking” if they’d stayed together.  And he added, quote, “It was part of why I started drinking alcohol was, I was trapped.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if Ben didn’t mean that exactly the way it came out . . . but the Internet does not care.  He’s being blasted for blaming his alcoholism on Jen, whether that was his intention or not.

A lot of people are pointing out that Ben was an alcoholic long before he met Jennifer.  While others are ever-so-gently reminding Ben that Jennifer actually took him to rehab YEARS after they separated.