In a candid new interview with Rolling Stone magazine, the actor opens up about the two weeks in 1996 that eventually led to him getting help and getting clean.
It all began with a traffic cop pulling him over for speeding and discovering a firearm in his Ford F-150, and led to “many felonies”, a brief spell behind bars and some left over drugs back home.
And it ended with the Iron Man star realising enough was enough – and he needed help.
He explains, “I’m thinking, ‘Where’s all that great coke?’ Here I was needing to anaesthetise like never before. The wife (Deborah Falconer) has moved out, the kid’s (son Indio) gone, my life is a f**king babyshambles, and I suddenly make the neuropathic connection that there’s nowhere the coke can be but the garbage, and I f**king dig in the thing and there it is, and it’s so f**king pure and so clean.
“There I am, in my own kitchen, cooking up some rock – no Vicodin, no Valium, nothing to take the edge off, barely a trace of f**king Absolut Citron (vodka) in the fridge, and I just go, ‘This is as good as it gets right now.'”
Downey, Jr. quickly realised that moment was as low as he ever wanted to go: “The only way out of that hopeless state is intervention.”