National Recovery Month: A look at Matthew Perry's journey who kicked his own addiction, helped others recover
The actor worked with interventionist and addiction specialist Earl Hightower to convert his residence to a sober-living center called Perry House that offered meditation programs and a workshop
When photos of Matthew Perry aka Chandler Bing from 'FRIENDS' looking in a state of disarray were taken in November last year and shortly after, those surfaced on the Internet, people immediately started worrying if the entertainer once again found himself resorting to alcohol and drugs. Perry has given the audiences a lot of memories, to last a lifetime, and the possibility of him having gone off the rails worried a lot of fans.
Then this year in July, he was spotted in public in Beverly Hills with a cigarette on his lip, shortly after his breakup with girlfriend Molly Hurwitz. The actor looked quite disheveled and under the weather and quite unlike how fans remember him, according to Mirror. The show that was responsible for his massive success along with the rest of the cast aired 26 years ago in 1994 and it's natural to not look the same, Perry's looks had started to alter way back in 2000, while the show was still on the air and the reason for it was thought to be poor health and addiction. The actor had developed a problem with pain killers in 1997 and had checked himself into a facility to get rid of the dependency. He had also developed a problem with alcoholism but the actor took charge of his life and even though he relapsed a couple of times, he was aware that his life is precious. Not only that, but Perry also knew addicts just need help, and therefore, he founded Perry House in Malibu in 2013 and even though the facility shut in 2018, his work for recovering addicts continued. September is observed as National Recovery Month where gains of recovering addicts are celebrated and Perry's mention is fitting and appropriate because he's someone who's worked towards kicking his own addiction as well as stay dedicated to help others recover.
"I was on 'Friends' from age 24 to 34. I was in the white-hot flame of fame," Perry said to PEOPLE opening up about his addiction. "The six of us were just everywhere all the time. From an outsider's perspective, it would seem like I had it all. It was actually a very lonely time for me because I was suffering from alcoholism." Perry once also mentioned that he didn't remember three years of filming the show. "I was painfully, painfully hungover. Then eventually things got so bad I couldn't hide it, and then everybody knew," he told the outlet.
The actor sought help for all his problems and on his road to recovery also opened up his four-bedroom Malibu home for recovering addicts. He worked with interventionist and addiction specialist Earl Hightower to convert his residence to a sober-living center called Perry House that offered meditation programs and a 12-step workshop, according to a Today report. The facility was sold in 2015 because the upkeep turned out to be too expensive, however, Perry was determined to find out other ways to help recovering addicts.
It takes a lot to be open about one's struggles with addiction, especially when you are in the limelight and stand a risk of public humiliation, however, Perry decided to face his demons and be honest about it to fans. The good, bad and ugly of his journey are out for his fans and it takes a lot to stay afloat and keep pushing forward in life and Perry does deserve all the accolades for doing so.
September 2020 marks the 31st year of National Recovery Month and with this column, we aim to tell the share the experiences of public figures and celebrities with mental disorders, with an aim to raise awareness and normalize asking for help.