When Matthew Perry Started a Sober-Living Facility ‘Perry House’ to Help Others Overcome Addiction
For ten years, Matthew Perry was living THE life of an actor: he was paid up to $1 million each episode and had the legendary part of the sardonic Chandler Bing on the hit sitcom Friends.
Behind the scenes, though, Perry was having trouble with substance abuse issues. Perry would face challenges for decades before finally overcoming his problems and dedicating his life to assisting others in need. "Addiction, the big terrible thing, is far too powerful for anyone to defeat alone, but together, one day at a time, we can beat it down," he wrote in his book, per PEOPLE.
Perry, in addition to coming out about his struggles with substance abuse and rehabilitation, founded a sober house to help those struggling with addiction. "What's interesting about it is I've stood on a stage helping 100,000 people at the same time, but I get the same juice, I get the same thing, from helping one person," he told Good Morning America in 2022. "And how far down the scale I've gone, which is all a part of this book, that's how low I can then help people," he continued. "If they've gone through anything close to what I went through, I can come in and help."
"...The disease doesn't care where it goes. There's a stigma attached to [addiction] and that's got to end. And hopefully me telling my story will help that stigma end."— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 31, 2022
Matthew Perry on what he hopes people learn from his memoir, "Friends, Lovers and the Big, Terrible Thing." pic.twitter.com/zqE5fPVyHu
Perry knew one day he'd be gone, and while discussing how he wanted to be remembered in an interview on the Q With Tom Power podcast in 2022, he said the sober house is one of the things he'd like to be mentioned, per The Guardian. “The best thing about me is that if an alcoholic or drug addict comes up to me and says ‘Will you help me?’ I will always say ‘Yes, I know how to do that. I will do that for you, even if I can’t always do it for myself.’ So I do that, wherever I can. In groups, or one on one,” he wrote.
“And I created the Perry House in Malibu, a sober living facility for men. When I die, as far as my so-called accomplishments go, it would be nice if Friends was listed far behind the things I did to try and help other people. I want [helping people] to be the first thing that's mentioned, and I'm gonna live the rest of my life proving that.”
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Perry, in addition to building the sober facility, was big on policy changes. He was a strong supporter of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (now All Rise). He once argued addiction on the BBC's current affairs show Newsnight with contentious author and broadcaster Peter Hitchens, per Independent.
Perry was invited to speak about specialist drug courts, in which former addicts would sit as magistrates to make better-informed decisions on abuse-related offenses committed by nonviolent addicts. “I know that they work,” he tore into Hitchens. “People who go through drug court have a 55 percent less chance of ever seeing handcuffs ever again.”
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