Matthew Perry, one of the stars of the classic TV show Friends, recently spoke to People magazine about his longtime struggles with alcoholism, opioid addiction, and how he was able to get out of that vicious cycle. In recounting his experiences, Perry explained how when he was admitted to a hospital for a colon burst at the age of 49, he had a 2 percent chance to live according to medical experts at the facility.
“The doctors told my family that I had a 2 percent chance to live,” the 53-year-old explained of the peak of his addiction problems. "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."
Perry played Chandler Bing on the hit '90s sitcom, and is part of a cast of actors that, according to 2018 reports, still make about $20 million a year from the show. At one point of filming, he said he would take up to 55 Vicodin a day and weighed 128 pounds. While he tried to hide these issues from the cast and crew, it was too drastic not to notice and he says they were "understanding" and "patient" with him as they showed him much support.
"I didn't know how to stop," he stated. "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 did not disclose for how long he's been sober, but the Massachusetts native did tell People that his 14 stomach surgeries are "a lot of reminders to stay sober." He also explained how a therapist helped him get over Oxycontin by asking him to imagine having a colostomy bag every time he had the urge to take one.
"A little window opened and I crawled through it and I no longer want Oxycontin anymore," Perry said.
While Perry has often relapsed and has been in rehab 15 times, he said he's feeling "pretty healthy now." After a Friends reunion and a commentary appearance on a documentary of Tupac's murder, it seems the TV star is more ready to be in the public eye. He's also set to release his memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing on November 1st, which he says will battle “the active disease of alcoholism and addiction.” He also waited until he was "pretty safely sober" before commencing the writing process.
Our respect and congratulations to Perry for staying strong in his journey, and hopefully it becomes even brighter for him moving forward.