Robert Downey Jr: I'm At the "Sweet Spot of My Career"

Robert Downey Jr. may just be Hollywood's ultimate comeback kid. After years of battling drug addiction, more than a handful of arrests, two stints in jail, and numerous trips to rehab, the now-sober actor says he's finally feeling satisfied. But even with a flourishing career and happy marriage to his wife of five years, Susan Levin, Downey says he'll never forget what he's been through.

"Not having done drugs for literally five or six years is a lifetime," he tells the November issue of Playboy. "I think of myself as someone who has no desire, use for or conscious memory of that life. And yet I don't shut the door on it, and I don't pretend it didn't happen."

The 45-year-old actor says he still has "very strong" memories of the person he once was, whom he describes as a "messed-up kid ... lost, lost in narcotics."

Telling the mag he feels like "a veteran of a war that is difficult to discuss with people who haven't been there," Downey is well aware of how his story could have ended had he not gotten sober.

"Looking back, I think, 'Oh my God, I could have been done. I could have been so fried and so bad off and, oh my God, such a cautionary tale,'" he says. "And I still could be."

The Iron Man 2 star says bouncing back from a dark place is all ""about respect. It's not even about self-respect; it's about respect for life and all it offers."

"You take responsibility, whether you're outraged by the results or not...." he adds. Downey says those addicts who feel they are are victims are "out of line."

Now happy and healthy, Downey is reveling in his recent success, with his next film, the comedy Due Date, set for release Nov. 5.

"My age and my recent set of experiences ... have left me feeling I'm in the zone," says the actor. "This is just the sweet spot of my career and my life so far, and strangely, they've come at the same time."

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