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Perry’s story and the truths of addiction
Karma Patey
Drawing of Matthew Perry

WARNING: The following article talks about substance abuse and addiction. If you are sensitive to this topic read at your own discretion.

On October 28, 2023 Matthew Perry, best known as Chandler Bing, died in his personal jacuzzi. The cause of his death is being determined, but it was not directly because of his addiction.

His impact across several generations will always be remembered.

Most people will remember Perry from his performance in the sitcom show Friends as Chandler Bing.

Perry was very similar to his character, bringing him to life more and more every episode. His sarcastic and witty personality brought much love and joy to anyone who tuned in. 

Despite that, Perry did more than play Chandler Bing. 

In an interview last year with Q with Tom Power he says this, “When I die, I don’t want ‘Friends’ to be the first thing that’s mentioned.I want [helping people] to be the first thing that’s mentioned, and I’m gonna live the rest of my life proving that”.

In 2022 he published his memoir called: Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing

In his memoir Perry walks you through his rise to fame, journey with addiction during filming, and what it’s like to have fame. 

The topic talked about most is his battle with alcohol and drug addiction. Matthew Perry had been sober since 2021.

The opening page of the last chapter in his book explains that he should be dead by now.

At only fourteen years old he got involved with substance abuse. When he was casted in Friends at age 24, it only got worse. In his book Perry explains how he was taking up to 55 pills a day. 

With what he was taking and mixing, it’s surprising that Perry didn’t overdose.

Maybe not to our naked eye, but he can tell what stage of addiction he was facing if he watched the seasons of Friends

That’s why he had never watched his own show. 

It’s said that he was in rehab twice during filming.

Over the years he sought out help many times. During an interview with The New York Times, Perry spoke about how he’s spent probably nine million dollars on trying to get sober.  

He went to rehab a total of fifteen times before he experienced long term sobriety. Even before then Perry’s goal was to always help others get sober and spread awareness throughout his own struggles.

One of the most memorable things he did to help others is create a sober living facility out of his Malibu house. 

In 2013 to 2015 he owned a home in Malibu that he converted into the “Perry House”. It was a place for men to live while they were struggling to find their way to sobriety.

Perry also personally helped others get sober. 

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

— Matthew Perry

His ex co-star Hank Azaria was struggling with addiction and during the first year of him going to AA meetings, Perry always went with him. 

This is what Azaria had to say about Perry, “As a sober person, he was so caring and giving and wise and he totally helped me get sober. I really wish he could have found it in himself to stay with a sober life more consistently”. 

Now that Perry has passed there has been a foundation started called Matthew Perry Foundation to help fund people who struggle with drug addiction. 

It was started to recognize his commitment to these people and “it will honor his legacy”. 

Despite his death not directly being caused by addiction, it’s still important to be aware of how dangerous and harmful it is.

Perry’s story and what he did for others in his community brings great awareness. 

Some familiar names of celebrities that have passed away from an OD are: Mac Miller, Heath Ledger, Whitney Houston, Bruce Lee, Jimi Hendrix, and many more.

When talking about an overdose it doesn’t always mean it was purposeful or even stems from an addiction. 

In 2021 98,268 died from overdoses that were preventable.

There is a lot of stigma towards those who struggle and have struggled with substance abuse. No one goes into it thinking, “I want to be addicted”. 

There are ways to help destigmatize the assumptions and stereotypes. 

Things like “understanding the scientific facts, learning the difference between destigmatizing and enabling, leaving behind old ideology about preventing addiction, and supporting loved ones who struggle” will help.

Without those things, it will make it so much harder for people to feel comfortable and motivated to get the help they need. 

Matthew Perry had tried his whole adult life fighting and helping others. His passing is tragic and unexpected, but the silver lining is the awareness that is being brought to his wonderful doings. 

Rest in peace Matthew Perry.

About the Contributors
Lexi Bartholomew
Lexi Bartholomew, Reporter
my spotify playlists are cooler than yours
Karma Patey
Karma Patey, Illustrator
the dude who draws the things who isn't the other one