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Robert Downey Jr. -
Fallen Star ?

by David L. Hill, CADC II

The Fall

TUESDAY MAY 1, 2001
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

     Once again we have witnessed the arrest of an American celebrity, a falling star, caught in the web of addiction brought to the forefront of the public eye.
On April 24, the drama continues with yet another drug arrest for the Oscar nominated actor, Robert Downey Jr. As a result, he was fired from his guest appearances on the TV show "Ally McBeal" which he plays a lawyer. Downey is the most current entertainer to allow us to observe the pathology of the power of addiction and the jealous rage of its destructive grasp on the life of an otherwise brilliant human being. Imprisonment, the loss of employment, and public humiliation are seemingly discounted during the decision making process of this star addict.

Why does an addict return to drug use with a clear intellectual knowledge of the predictable negative consequences of their actions?

     The Original First Step of the Alcoholics Anonymous may suggest the answer. The original version of this step consists of two words: “complete deflation”. The idea is simply that a person will not change until they bring themselves to the place in which they will  listen. It is not until they abandon their beliefs that are inconsistent with the reality of their chronic addiction and their acknowledgment of their personal inability to use drugs and alcohol safely.

Therefore; it seems that loss is in order until reality is honored.


     Father Joseph- Martin, a nationally recognized addiction expert suggests that the will of the addict -  alcoholic becomes disabled as the addiction progresses. Willpower isn’t a contender against the aggressive nature of the cycle of addiction. The addict can become fully deluded in their own thoughts serving to bring them into a deeper and deeper state of oblivion and demoralization.


One example is Audrey Kishline, the author of "Moderation Management" who has served a prison sentence due to the drunken driving manslaughter of 38 year old Richard Davis and his 12 year-old daughter LaSchell  in 1996.

Kishline’s book promotes ideas that moderation in drinking is desirable through self-discipline and that alcoholism is not a disease.  She has since renounced her former philosophy ; but that decision is too late for the victims of her drunkenness and their families. Alcoholics Anonymous textbook, “The Big Book," suggests that the destiny of the addict -  alcoholic without treatment and intervention is "jails, institutions and death".

Casualties are very common in the lives of those who entertain powerful chemicals without restraint…


Hopefully Robert Downey Jr. will come to terms with his life and grasp a quality sobriety without enduring the destruction of himself and / or others in the process.

Authors Note: Since this article Robert Downey Jr. has attained sobriety and has been sober many years.


David L. Hill, CADC is the Program Manager for the Center for Addiction Medicine San Antonio Community Hospital in Upland, California


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