Opening up. Matthew Perry doesn’t hold back when it comes to discussing his addiction and other topics in his new memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing. Keep reading to find out his biggest confessions shared in the book, which will be available to buy on Tuesday, November 1.
What Does Matthew Perry Say About His Addiction in His Memoir?
Matthew’s alcohol addiction was just starting to surface when he was cast on the hit NBC sitcom at age 24. “I could handle it, kind of. But by the time I was 34, I was really entrenched in a lot of trouble,” he wrote. “But there were years that I was sober during that time. Season 9 was the year that I was sober the whole way through. And guess which season I got nominated for best actor? I was like, ‘That should tell me something.’”
At one point during the show’s 10-year run, Matthew was taking 55 Vicodin a day and weighed only 128 lbs. “I didn’t know how to stop,” he recalled. “If the police came over to my house and said, ‘If you drink tonight, we’re going to take you to jail,’ I’d start packing. I couldn’t stop because the disease and the addiction is progressive. So it gets worse and worse as you grow older.”
He also shared how his costars handled his varying health over the years that he played Chandler Bing. Matthew said they were “understanding” and “patient,” adding, “It’s like penguins. Penguins, in nature, when one is sick, or when one is very injured, the other penguins surround it and prop it up. They walk around it until that penguin can walk on its own. That’s kind of what the cast did for me.”
What Did Matthew Perry Say About His Sobriety Today?
While he admitted to having several relapses and has gone to rehab 15 times, Matthew gave an update about his current health. “I’m pretty healthy now,” he said. The Massachusetts native then joked, “I’ve got to not go to the gym much more, because I don’t want to only be able to play superheroes. But no, I’m a pretty healthy guy right now.”
The Fools Rush In actor wouldn’t reveal how long he’s been sober, though shared that he tracks how many days he’s remained clean. “It’s important, but if you lose your sobriety, it doesn’t mean you lose all that time and education,” he said in the memoir. “Your sober date changes, but that’s all that changes. You know everything you knew before, as long as you were able to fight your way back without dying, you learn a lot.”
He explained that he has several scars on his stomach after undergoing 14 surgeries, which act as a reminder to stay sober.
Matthew also shared how he stays motivated to not relapse. “My therapist said, ‘The next time you think about taking Oxycontin, just think about having a colostomy bag for the rest of your life,’” he wrote. “And a little window opened and I crawled through it and I no longer want Oxycontin anymore.”
What Does Matthew Perry Say About His Other Health Problems in His Memoir?
Another major bombshell shared in Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing is that Matthew almost died in 2018 at age 49.
At the time, the 17 Again actor acknowledged that he suffered from a gastrointestinal perforation. However, in the book he further revealed that he spent weeks fighting for his life after his colon burst from opioid overuse. Matthew was in a coma for two weeks and spent five months in the hospital. Even after leaving the hospital, the recovery was still challenging, and he had to use a colostomy bag for nine months.
“The doctors told my family that I had a 2 percent chance to live,” he recalled about when he was first admitted to the hospital. “I was put on a thing called an ECMO machine, which does all the breathing for your heart and your lungs. And that’s called a Hail Mary. No one survives that.”
The Almost Heroes actor also shared that he’s now motivated to help other people that struggle with addictions. “There were five people put on an ECMO machine that night and the other four died and I survived,” he said. “So the big question is why? Why was I the one? There has to be some kind of reason.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).