A Hero’s Journey from Addiction to Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr is one of the most famous and successful actors in the world – but it wasn’t always that way. The movie star entered the spotlight in 2008, starring in two popular movies; Iron Man and Tropic Thunder, and he was named “Entertainer of the Year” by Entertainment Weekly. He is on top of his game, but he went through a lot to get there including trip to rehab and time in prison.

Robert Downey Jr’s battle with addiction began at a very early age: 6. Robert Downey Sr, his father, was a filmmaker and simultaneously started his son’s drug addiction and film career. At the age of six, Downey Sr. gave his son marijuana, or as his son would later put it “there was always a lot of coke and pot around, when my dad and I do drugs together, it was like he was trying to express his love for me in the only way he knew.” And by age eight he was addicted, worsening the older he got. Robert Downey Jr said he would spend every night out getting drunk and making phone calls in pursuit of drugs.

One of the disturbing incidents involved an intoxicated Robert Downy Jr wandering into a neighbour’s house and passing out in a bed. After repeatedly missing court ordered drug tests, he was sentenced to a three-year prison stint in 1999, but only ended up serving only a year in California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison.

By 2000, Downey’s career was in a tailspin. He had some acting deals in the works, but his repeated drug arrests caused him to lose jobs. He was fired for being arrested multiple times and not showing up for work. His marriage worn to the bone from all this as well.

In 2001, while on parole, Downey was found barefoot, wandering around Culver City, California and was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs. This incident led to him being fired from his role on the TV show “Ally McBeal,” in addition to other film and stage jobs. Instead of being sent back to prison, he was ordered to rehab. His wife eventually left him, taking their son with her. Like many other drug addicts, he reportedly lost interest in his work and passion when he hit his low point.

Like any celebrity who has been to drug rehab, Robert Downey Jr went through his tribulations and trials in front of millions of people. The drug rehab experience helped him turn the corner. His family, martial art practice and 12 Step programs have kept him away from drugs for many years now.

Downey Jr spent about a month in drug rehab and wasted no time getting back to work. Slowly but surely, he was being cast in TV and films once more. As you could imagine, producers and directors were somewhat hesitant to hire him because of his spotty reliability. However, he stayed on task with each project, proving he could be dependable again.

RDJ has led the marvel franchise thanks to his role as Iron Man, and is set to come to a head in 2019 with The Avengers: Infinity War Part II. This is a hero in more ways than one – a fantastic example of what someone can accomplish if they set their mind to it.


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