Robert Downey Jr Comeback From Drug Rehab and Prison

Robert Downey Jr is one movie star that really hit the spotlight in 2008. He starred in two very popular films, Tropic Thunder and Iron Man, and was named “Entertainer of the Year” by Entertainment Weekly. He is on top of his game, but he has come through a lot to get there including repeated trips to drug rehab and time in prison.

Robert Downey Jr Star Rises and Falls With Drug AddictionRobert Downey Jr

Downey’s serious acting career started in the mid 1980’s, leading to award nominations in the 1990’s. His star was certainly rising, but he was just about to enter the most difficult period of his life. According to several reports, Downey claims to have used drugs since childhood. He had been able to drink alcohol and used cocaine and heroin without interfering with his acting life. But in 1996, the wheels came off. He had one drug arrest after another, plus drug rehab, jail time, and probations. Everything had been tried, and nothing seemed to work.

By 2000 and 2001, Downey’s career was in a tailspin. He had some acting deals in the works, but his repeated drug arrests, prison, and drug rehab stints caused him to lose jobs. He got fired for not showing up for work and for being arrested multiple times. His marriage was worn to the bone from all this as well. His wife eventually left him, taking their young son with her. Like many drug addicts, he reportedly lost interest in his work and passion (acting) when he hit his low point.

At the time of all the type and drama, recall being somewhat in disbelief. How could someone of his success and talent be in so deep with drugs? It opened my eyes and made me sad. I wondered if he would go the way of many actors who fell off the map into drug-induced obscurity.

Downey Does Drug Rehab Finally Finds Lasting Sobriety

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

According to an article from the New York Times, Downey has been clean from addictive drugs since 2003. With his film presence of 2008, he is on the acting A list. And if I may say, he was completely great in the movie Iron Man. His intense persevering spirit shone through, making his super-hero character all the more believable.

Downeys Public Journey To Sobriety Remarkable

Like any celebrity who’s been to drug rehab, Robert Downey Jr went through his trials and tribulations in front of millions of people. Despite this added strain, it sure looks like he has created a healthy lifestyle to stay in recovery. His drug rehab experience helped him turn the corner. His martial arts practice, his family, and 12 Step programs have kept him away from drugs for several years now.

Will he relapse again? Possibly – his addiction is never gone. But the chances are lower with a good support network and healthy habits like he seems to have. His fame and current popularity are nice, but I am most impressed by his public example of struggle and recovery. Tremendous respect to you, Mr Downey.

Wendy Lee Nentwig

By Wendy Lee Nentwig
Guest Contributor

Articles posted here are primarily educational and may not directly reflect the offerings at The Canyon. For more specific information on programs at The Canyon, contact us today.

8 Responses

  1. Anna December 16, 2011


    It is a daily choice to be clean, sober. My experience is that the alcoholic/addict does NOT have to relapse–ie use again if diligent about thier recovery

    Sober since 1979 no relapses. It works if you work it.

    • andrew September 24, 2013

      respect to you Anna . 1979 and still going . I need to do that !

  2. chantee February 7, 2012

    i am struglling with my addiction and dont know what to do to get recovery. any advice

    • The Canyon February 9, 2012

      Hey Chantee, we’ll have someone get in touch with you. If you ever want to talk with someone who can answer your questions, you can always call us at 877-714-1319.

  3. tasha December 2, 2012

    I think that robert should do what ever he wants

  4. Brian January 30, 2013

    I struggled with alcohol and some other substances for 27 years. This may be totally against popular belief and traditional recovery methods, but the power to beat any addicition and heal must come from within. It’s not so much that recovery doesn’t work, rather the alcoholic must awaken. The way to do this comes from no longer identifying with the mind, but living from your true source, the power that is within you. The mind judges; God doesn’t. I tried everything in this world and couldn’t stop drinking! I never believed I had to go outside myself for healing from my addicition. Why do you think people make many attempts at rehab? Why do they struggle with AA? Your true essence contains power that connects everything together in this universe. When you learn to live in that power, you will never want to drink or use again. There is a book by Eckhart Tolle called ” The Power Of Now.” read it. Get in touch with your inner self. Awaken! I drank for 27 years; I healed in a day

  5. mahituna May 3, 2013

    It’s like being trapped in a collapsed house. You need help to free yourself but then you and only you must decide to move forward. It helps if you get to the root of why you self medicate, have a desire to do other things that bring happiness and reward (hobby, job, family). Nobody can give up their addiction for long on behalf of someone (lover,wife,husband,kids,job) else. Only when that person decides he/she has had enough will it end. It sounds selfish but drug addiction is a selfish behavior to begin with.

  6. Mallory June 27, 2013

    I love him. I’ll love him no matter what he does. Ill be Mrs. Downey one day.