Where celebrities go when they're on the rocks.

By Brian M. RafteryJosh Young and Nicholas Fonseca
Updated August 17, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

”I am being stretched too thin,” Ben Affleck told ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY in an interview last month. ”I’m one of those people that finds no idea what to do with myself when I am not busy, and as a consequence I end up getting into trouble.” Despite a full slate of film roles, trouble caught up with the ”Pearl Harbor” star, who turns 29 this month. On Aug. 3, the actor — who played a reformed boozer in last year’s ”Bounce” and whose father, Tim, is a recovering alcoholic and drug rehab counselor — voluntarily began treatment for alcohol abuse at Promises Malibu, a California facility.

A source close to Affleck denies reports that the actor was on a gambling-related bender in Las Vegas the last weekend in July — or that the trip led to his decision to enter Promises: ”He knows he’s genetically predisposed to a condition. He saw a couple red flags, and before it became an issue he sought out help.” Affleck is not in lockdown at the facility, adds the source, noting that the actor went shopping in Malibu Aug. 3 and checked out ”Planet of the Apes” in Marina del Rey Aug. 5.

Affleck is far from alone on that road to Wellville. Just in the last month, numerous celebs have opted to dry out: After her arrest for lewd conduct and child endangerment (charges that she denies), comedian Paula Poundstone, 41, announced she was seeking treatment for alcoholism; Metallica delayed the recording of their next album so frontman James Hetfield, 38, could tackle his alcoholism; and a month after entering an Arizona clinic for drinking and depression — delaying the Backstreet Boys’ summer tour — singer AJ McLean, 23, is now ”in transitional care” in L.A., according to a spokeswoman.

Drugs and alcohol aren’t the only culprits. After months of nonstop activity, exhausted songstress Mariah Carey, 31, continues her stay at Connecticut’s Silver Hill Hospital for a reported psychological and emotional breakdown, with no release date announced so far. A spokeswoman says, ”We’re taking it one day at a time.”

That’s become an increasingly familiar refrain — but it doesn’t necessarily mean that Hollywood is any more troubled than it’s always been. Now, however, it seems that for celebrities, 12-step programs include a 13th: acknowledging your problem in a press release.

So how do the stars decide where to go? The Los Angeles area claims countless rehab facilities. But since discretion is a must, A-listers often seek more remote locales. ”Any place that treats high-profile patients [will] try to protect the individual that’s getting treatment as much as possible from the press,” says Dr. Richard Frances, Silver Hill’s medical director. Adds James P. Mellody, executive director of the Meadows in Wickenburg, Ariz., ”We protect their anonymity very, very carefully.”

Still, word gets around. More up-to-date than those star maps on Hollywood Boulevard, here’s a crib sheet on the type of clinics that are drawing as many celebrities as the Hamptons this summer.