Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. and His Struggle with Addiction

SoCal Detox
SoCal Detox

SoCal Detox editorial contributors include writers, editors, mental health and substance abuse treatment professionals who are trained to create credible and authoritative health information that is accurate, informative, and easy to understand.

The world of celebrity—whether it is found in the worlds of acting, television, music or sports—is one where people from all walks of life are attracted to those who are in the media spotlight.  Celebrity equals wealth, fame, adoration and constant exposure in the media.  On the surface, those who are in the spotlight seemingly have everything going for themselves, but beneath that surface the pressures of fame and stardom can cause cracks in the façade.

There have been a countless litany of celebrities who unfortunately dealt with the pressures of fame with using and abusing drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, there are those celebrity addicts who ultimately succumbed to their addictions and there are others whose constant struggles with addiction are played out on entertainment news shows and all over social media.  However, there are those celebrity addicts who were able to overcome their addictions and were able to reclaim their careers.  Robert Downey Jr. is such an example.

Robert Downey Jr’s Story of Addiction and Recovery

Robert Downey’s entry into drug use and addiction had its roots with his admittedly liberal upbringing. Downey Jr’s father, an underground filmmaker and a drug addict, allowed Downey Jr. to try alcohol and marijuana by age 8.  Throughout his teen years and into his early twenties his behavior slowly spiraled out of control; however, he was a rising star as a regular cast member of Saturday Night Live and as well as feature films such as Less Than Zero and Chaplin, a 1992 film in which he was nominated for an Academy Award.

While his talent was unquestionable, Downey’s burgeoning addiction issues were fast becoming bigger headlines than his impressive body of work. In a span from 1996 to 2001, Robert Downey Jr’s substance abuse addiction resulted in multiple convictions and jail sentences. Perhaps Downey’s most reported brush with law was his 1996 arrest was for breaking into a neighbor’s home and passing out in a child’s bedroom. That incident took place just hours after being charged for another drug crime.

handcuffed man with drugs

More tabloid coverage came in 1997 when Downey missed a court-ordered drug test.  As result, he was sent to the Los Angeles County jail for four months, and the mainstream media joined the massive tabloid coverage in chronicling Downey’s free fall. After his release, Downey’s drug use was undiminished and he continued to have brushes with the law. The next one came in 1999, when he missed another mandatory drug test and was again arrested. Treatment programs had continued to fail, and Downey was hovering on the brink of personal meltdown.

Despite his reputation, Downey was still finding work and showcasing his immense talents. In 2000, he was given a regular role on the TV series Ally McBeal playing Calista Flockhart’s love interests. His role earned him an Emmy nomination and brought renewed interest to the series which was dwindling at that point. Despite his success, Downey could not stay away from drugs and alcohol.

He was fired from Ally McBeal after he was once again arrested for being under the influence of drugs. After this arrest, Downey Jr. had become unemployable and went from being a millionaire to being on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. It was also revealed during this low period that Downey had also been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Downey had been court-ordered to attend rehab in 2001 and from that point he began to slowly pull away from his addictions and started on the road to recovery. During his early recovery, fellow actor Mel Gibson cast him in the 2003 film The Singing Detective and he also had roles in the films Gothika, Good Night, Good Luck and Zodiac. Downey has credited his current wife with helping him turn his life and Downey Jr’s recovery regimen includes twelve-step meetings, meditation as well as the martial arts.

What Robert Downey Jr’s Addiction and Recovery Shows Us

Robert Downey Jr’s history of addiction has environmental roots that blossomed with his burgeoning fame. While his story had taken many twists and turns, his turnaround is testament to the fact that recovery is possible no matter how far to the bottom a person falls. His recovery also shows that when one recovers and focuses their energies on their authentic self and what is best for themselves anything is possible.

Are you struggling with drug and alcohol addiction? Drug addiction can completely overwhelm your life and you may feel powerless in your struggles. Fortunately, there are many quality drug treatment options that are available to you that will give you the tools you need to break the vicious cycle of drug addiction once and for all.

As one of the premier drug and alcohol detox facilities in Southern California, SoCal Detox offer excellent detox programs that will allow you to withdraw safely from substances and allow you to regain your physical and mental health. Call SoCal Detox today and start making your recovery a reality.

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