Learning from Robert Downey Jr.’s Recovery


About ten years ago, Robert Downey Jr.’s career and life seemed to be in shambles. After being arrested in 2000 for possession of cocaine and valium and  in  2001 while wondering barefoot in Los Angeles under the influence of cocaine, Downey was fired from the hit television series, Ally McBeal. It was shortly after this final arrest that he reached a breaking point.

“I finally said, ‘You know what? I don’t think I can continue doing this.’ And I reached out for help, and I ran with it,” he said. Downey later told Oprah Winfrey in November 2004 that “when someone says, ‘I really wonder if maybe I should go to rehab?’ Well, uh, you’re a wreck, you just lost your job, and your wife left you. Uh, you might want to give it a shot.”

With the help of treatment and the support of his family and friends, Downey was able to pull his life together, not only becoming sober but reaching the pinnacle of his career with the Blockbuster successes of Iron Man, Tropic Thunder and Sherlock Homes. Last year, Downey recieved a medallion at an AA meeting to celebrate five years of continuous sobriety.

Just as celebrities can be used as examples of the detriments of drug and alcohol abuse, i.e. Lindsay Lohan’s recent troubles, stories such as Robert Downey’s Jr.’s recovery can be equally effective as a way of painting a picture of two very different life paths; one skewed by the destruction of drugs and alcohol and one of overwhelming success.

This September, as we celebrate the recovery of Robert Downey Jr. and the millions of other people who have achieved sobriety,  Adolescent Counseling Services encourages parents to have a talk with their teenagers about the dangers and consequences of alcohol and drug abuse and to seek help if you believe that your child may be using. Adolescent Counseling Services’ would also like to thank its supporters for allowing ACS to help teens and families in the Peninsula struggling with addiction through its Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Program.

The 2010 National Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery Month is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration‘s (SAMHSA’s) Center for Substance Abuse.

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