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Matthew Perry's Legacy in Addiction Recovery Article

Matthew Perry’s Legacy in Addiction Recovery

Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Matthew Perry recently passed away in a tragic accident. He was a friend to the world, and although he was most known for playing Chandler Bing on the hit television series Friends, he was a bright light and role model to those in the addiction recovery world. Matthew Perry struggled with substance abuse for decades, and his steadfast dedication to recovery attempts is a tribute to how much he longed for sobriety. He shared his addiction recovery trials and tribulations in his candid memoir “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing,” published in 2022.  

In his memoir, Matthew Perry not only shared his deep struggles with addictions and his multiple attempts at recovery but how this disease can wreak havoc on beloved famous figures at the height of their career. Addiction is a disease that does not discriminate against age, wealth, race, education, or celebrity status, and Mathew Perry was an example of this. Despite many setbacks in his addiction recovery and spending approximately 7 million dollars on over 15 rehab stays, Matthew Perry also shared his story of continuing hope to push forward in his recovery journey, which he did until the end of his life. He never gave up on his hope for recovery.

If you are struggling with addiction, it is essential to know that you are not alone.

Throughout his battle with addiction, Matthew Perry battled multiple health problems, including pneumonia, a ruptured colon, two weeks in a coma, nine months with a colostomy bag, and more than a dozen stomach surgeries. He firmly believed that addiction is a disease that nobody should be able to fight alone and advocated for supporting others within the addiction community. His devotion to helping others who also struggled with addiction prompted him to open a sober living home for men in 2013 at his former Malibu mansion, which was called “The Perry House.”  

In a November 2022 podcast interview after the release of his memoir, Matthew Perry made an effort to explain that his proudest accomplishment was not his decade-long television role on Friends but rather his effort to help others who were also battling addiction.

“The best thing about me, bar none, is if somebody comes up to me and says, ‘I can’t stop drinking. Can you help me?’ I can say yes and follow up and do it. And I’ve said this for a long time: when I die, I don’t want Friends to be the first thing that’s mentioned. I want that to be the first thing that’s mentioned. And I’m going to live the rest of my life proving that.”

A support system is important, but you must want to heal from addiction

From an outsider’s perspective, it seemed like Matthew Perry had it all: happiness, money, and fame, but the reality is that he was incredibly lonely because he was struggling with an alcohol disorder. He then became addicted to prescription opioids and first entered rehab in 1997. He had more than 14 stays in rehab treatment facilities in addition to multiple hospitalizations due to medical complications from chronic and severe alcohol abuse. Although he was a private person, his struggles with addiction were all over the media. Eventually, he started sharing with the public that he was seeking treatment for his disease. He knew he had a significant problem with drugs and alcohol, and it was also apparent to his co-stars on Friends as well as his parents. Although his loved ones in his life supported him, helped him, and wanted him to get better, he realized many years later that to heal from addiction, you must be the one to want to seek help and put in the work. Nobody else can force you or do the work for you. Throughout his battle with addiction and the medical complications that came along with it, he continued to be a successful actor in television and movies until Friends went off the air in 2004. 

Matthew Perry Foundation: His Legacy Lives On

Shortly after his death, his loved ones started an addiction recovery foundation in his name, “The Matthew Perry Foundation,” so his legacy of helping others can continue to live on. This foundation was founded to help those who are struggling with substance abuse.  

“Addiction is far too powerful for anyone to defeat alone. But together, one day at a time, we can beat it down”. 

-Matthew Perry

AKUA Wants to Help You

It is never too late to seek help for your addiction, and you should not go on this journey alone. AKUA Mind and Body is a full-service addiction treatment facility with multiple locations that offer different levels of care for substance abuse and mental health disorders. Our treatment team is compassionate and wants to tailor a treatment plan that is right for you. We want to meet you where you are in your addiction recovery process.


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