A different (and darker) side of Ben Higgins. The former Bachelor detailed his painkiller addiction, his time on reality TV and his split from Lauren Bushnell in his new book, Alone in Plain Sight: Searching for Connection When You’re Seen But Not Known.

“The book started like a journal. Coming off [The Bachelor] and really before it even, there’s a lot of, like, emotions and stuff I couldn’t process internally,” Higgins, 31, exclusively told Us Weekly ahead of the book’s release on Tuesday, February 2. “I was going to counseling and they kind of recommended I write down, like, ‘Hey, when I’m in my darkest place, like, what are the things I’m feeling, what kind of brought me there?’ And then when I was in my, like, best and most joyful times, like, ‘What is it that brought me there … how am I feeling?’ So, I started writing all this down and I was recognizing some themes and trying to tie these messages together.”

When Higgins was approached about writing a memoir, he made it clear he didn’t want to write a Bachelor tell-all. Instead, he explored questions of feeling disconnected and misunderstood.

“I kind of went with that angle of ‘Alright, if so many people are feeling disconnected, why?’ And then is there a possibility of connecting again, like, what is it we’re missing?” he told Us.

Still, Higgins knew that fans would have questions about his time as the Bachelor, which resulted in his engagement to Bushnell. Less than two years after their proposal aired in 2016, the pair announced their split in May 2017.

“I wrote [the chapter about Lauren] because it is a part of my story. My life doesn’t fully make sense unless you know the entirety of my story,” he told Us, noting that he sent his ex-fiancée the pages upon completion. “She was super gracious. And she read it and she was, like, encouraging [about it]. One, because there is no ill will. She’s married and pregnant and life’s good. I’m engaged and super happy and life’s great. And, like, there’s no resentment or hard feelings there. When I wrote it, it was coming from a place of being healed and fully aware of how it all progressed, and how good it all progressed for both of us. And so, she was encouraging in it.”

Bushnell, for her part, married country singer Chris Lane in 2019. Last month, the couple confirmed that she is pregnant with a baby boy. Higgins, for his part, got engaged to girlfriend Jessica Clarke in March 2020. The duo, who recently bought a home together in Colorado, were forced to postpone their nuptials amid the coronavirus pandemic, but they have their hearts set on tying the knot in 2021.

“We will get married in 2021. That is something we’ve committed to no matter what. Either way, somehow, someway,” he told Us. “If we have a wedding, that’s fantastic. We would love that; it has been something we’ve both wanted. It’s what we’ve, like, I’d say, sacrificed over the last year to make sure we can do that. If we can’t, then we still make it happen. No matter what.”

Alone in Plain Sight is available now. Scroll through for the biggest takeaways from the book:

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