December 26, 2023

Matthew Perry: Leaving a Legacy of Hope for Addiction Recovery

man standing on hill at sunrise representing matthew perry addiction

Matthew Perry became a household name when he brought the character Chandler Bing to life in Friends. Unfortunately, he passed away on Saturday, October 28th, 2023, at the age of 54. His sudden death sent shockwaves through the internet, prompting an overwhelming outpouring of celebrity tributes and expressions of love on social media and online platforms.

Throughout his years in the spotlight, Perry not only showcased his acting chops but also shared personal narratives of his ongoing battle with addiction – a struggle that predated his rise to fame.

What Addictions Did Matthew Perry Have?

Perry first encountered the effects of alcohol at age 14, finding that it seemed to enhance his charm and quell negative thoughts – it wasn’t until he reached the pinnacle of success that he realized fame had no impact on alleviating his personal struggles.

So, after drinking as a teenager, he later became fully addicted to opioids following a jet ski accident during the filming of his 1997 movie, Fools Rush In. Describing his first experience with opioids, he revealed, “I hadn’t had a pill before that. That first high from it was euphoria. And then I didn’t need to drink, which made you sweat and made you smell of alcohol.” At the peak of his addiction, Perry was consuming 55 Vicodin pills daily and saw his weight drop to 128 pounds.

In an October 2022 interview with The New York Times, Perry said that, “I’ve probably spent $9 million or something trying to get sober.” (In his book, published after the interview, he suggests a figure closer to $7 million.) He stated during this interview that he had been clean for 18 months.

Despite enduring pain and hardship, Perry expressed that his journey to recovery instilled in him a deep sense of responsibility to assist others navigating similar paths.

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Matthew Perry: Drug Addiction and Helping Others

Driven by a desire to help others, Perry candidly shared his experiences with multiple rehab stays, detailing his struggles with addictive substances throughout his public life. Using his life’s narrative as a source of inspiration, he emerged as a motivational figure, dedicated to supporting those grappling with addiction.

As part of his commitment to helping individuals on the path to recovery, Perry transformed his Malibu residence into Perry House, a sober living facility that remained operational until 2015.

Matthew Perry conveyed his stories with a blend of hope and humor, reminiscent of his character on Friends. Prior to one of his rehab stints, he humorously acknowledged the attention surrounding his announcement, stating, “Please enjoy making fun of me on the world wide web,” playing into the recurring nature of such declarations.

Perry’s courageous and down-to-earth approach as a Hollywood A-lister highlighted the arduous nature of overcoming addiction in the public eye. Acknowledging the challenges inherent in the journey to recovery, he demonstrated an attitude of acceptance and a commitment to maintaining sobriety.

Perry, who published his memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing last year, consistently shared his battles with addiction in the hope of aiding others. Despite enduring 15 rehab stays, he claims to have been largely sober since 2001, acknowledging “60 or 70 little mishaps over the years” in a September 2022 interview with People.

A fervent supporter of prioritizing treatment over incarceration for drug offenders, Perry testified before a House subcommittee to advocate for funding. Reports suggest that he was actively working on establishing a foundation to provide additional support to individuals struggling with substance abuse.

Reflecting on his impact, Perry stated, “I’ve helped 100,000 people in a weekend, but I’ve also helped one guy. And it’s the same amount of juice that I get from it.” He stressed the profound satisfaction derived from witnessing the transformation in someone who had battled addiction for a decade. This commitment became a driving force in his life, as he expressed on the Q with Tom Power podcast in November 2022, “When I die, I don’t want Friends to be the first thing that’s mentioned. I want helping others to be the first. And I’m gonna live the rest of my life proving that.

So, while Matthew Perry undeniably captured the hearts of millions worldwide with his iconic show that defined an era, his memory will endure beyond Friends reruns.

The Matthew Perry Foundation

In the wake of Matthew Perry’s passing, a foundation bearing the actor’s name has been established. The Matthew Perry Foundation is open to receiving donations with the aim of helping anyone battling addiction.

The organization emphasizes Perry’s expressed desire to be remembered primarily as someone who aided those contending with addiction.

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Get Treatment for Drug & Alcohol Addiction at Gratitude Lodge

At Gratitude Lodge, we treat all types of addictions at our inclusive and pet-friendly facilities in Long Beach and Newport Beach, CA.

Begin your recovery with our supervised medical detox program. You can access medications to reduce the intensity of cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Continuous care means that complications and relapse are mitigated. After a week of detoxification, you can move into an ongoing inpatient treatment program.

All Gratitude Lodge treatment programs deliver personalized therapy that addresses the physical and psychological side of addiction. Therapies may include:

Call 888-861-1658 today and begin your recovery in California tomorrow.

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

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An essential part of your treatment experience, we offer individual (CBT and DBT talk therapy) and group addiction treatment counseling to help you explore and address the emotional component of addiction, providing you with the tools, self-awareness, and empowerment you need to maintain recovery.

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Dual Diagnosis is a highly effective addiction treatment that addresses substance use and mental health disorders simultaneously. Often co-occurring, these disorders are best managed when treated together with specific and targeted therapy.

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Inpatient treatment provides an intensive and comprehensive addiction treatment program in a structured environment. You will receive 24/7 expert care, therapy, and support as you build your foundation for long-term recovery.

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