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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Family Disease of Addiction

Actor Robert Downey Jr. photographed by the Ca...
It is a discomforting reality that the disease of addiction often affects multiple generations in a single family. Parents who have struggled with addiction and found recovery will often see their children walking down the path that they once walked, a path that will hopefully, at some point, lead to the doors of recovery.

Robert Downey Jr’s family is a prime example of how the disease crosses generational boundaries. For those old enough to remember, before Robert Downey Jr. became the Hollywood powerhouse that he is today, he was in and out of treatment centers, jails, and prisons. A path of addiction that likely started at the age of eight when his father, Robert Downey Sr., gave him drugs for the first time, according to The Fix.

After years of heartache, Robert Downey Jr. found recovery and has been sober for nearly 15 years. Robert Downey Sr. said he is more proud of his son getting sober than his acting career. Telling the New York Post that “when my son turned his life around, that’s my highlight moment.”

“Job one is get out of that cave,” Robert Downey Jr. said last September to Vanity Fair. “A lot of people do get out but don’t change. So the thing is to get out and recognize the significance of that aggressive denial of your fate, come through the crucible forged into a stronger metal.”

Now, Downey Jr. is having to watch his son Indio fight the struggle of getting sober, just as Downey Sr. had to watch his son. In June, the 18-year-old spent two months in a treatment program after being caught with cocaine. He later pled guilty to felony cocaine possession, which will be expunged if he completes his drug program and remains sober for 18 months.

Robert Downey, Jr. released a statement about his son, saying that “there’s a genetic component to addiction and Indio has likely inherited it. We’re grateful to the Sheriff’s Department for their intervention, and believe Indio can be another recovery success story instead of a cautionary tale.”

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