Health Before Death: Matthew Perry’s Addiction Journey

Matthew Perry Addiction Journey

Matthew Perry, a ‘Friends’ alum, was a longtime Hollywood star, but he struggled with addiction for the most of his life.

Although many people are familiar with Matthew Perry from his work on Friends, the Hollywood actor had many ups and downs in his personal life while battling addiction before passing away on October 28 at the age of 54. In his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, the Massachusetts native chronicled his experiences with drugs and alcohol.

Matthew said he spent more than $9 million attempting to become clean on treatment stays, therapists, and other expenses. He did, however, use his experiences to assist others in similar situations.

“The best thing about me, hands down, is that if someone approaches me and says, ‘I can’t stop drinking, can you help me?’ “I can say ‘yes,’ follow up, and do it,” the actor stated in a 2022 podcast interview with Tom Power. “I want that to be the first thing mentioned when I die.” And I want to spend the rest of my life proving it.”

Continue reading to find out more about his drug and alcohol misuse, rehabilitation, and how he was doing before his death.

Matthew was in a jet ski accident over three decades ago in 1997 and quickly became hooked to Vicodin, a Narcotic medicine used to relieve pain. According to US Weekly, his Vicodin addiction progressed to alcohol abuse after the accident, and he put himself into treatment in Minnesota that year. Despite his efforts to become clean, Matthew was only able to stay sober for a brief length of time before relapsing.

According to the same source, Matthew was hospitalized in 2000 for alcohol-related pancreatitis three years after his initial stint in treatment. Matthew later began “detoxing” on the set of Friends after his two-week hospitalization, with a noticeably changed physical look in seasons 6 and 7. Throughout his journey, the prominent TV actor would break his sobriety several times and visit treatment over 15 times.

It wasn’t until 2002 that he spoke up about his problems to The New York Times and realized he needed assistance.

“When [fame] comes, it’s like Disneyland for a while.” This sensation of ‘I’ve made it, I’m pleased, there’s no difficulty in the world’ lasted around eight months for me. “And then you realize it’s not accomplishing anything, it’s certainly not filling any holes in your life,” Matthew told the site, one year after resuming sobriety. “I didn’t get sober because I wanted to. I became clean because I was afraid I would die the next day.”

Matthew would also struggle with alcoholism throughout his life. According to ABC News, he began drinking alcohol at the age of 14 and quickly began drinking “every day” by the age of 18.

“I had this odd rule that I would never drink on set,” the 17 Again actress explained. “However, in extreme cases of hangover, I went to work.” It’s really difficult to feel that way and still have to work and be humorous.”

Matthew’s life would be spent in and out of treatment institutions for the next two decades.

According to Entertainment Tonight, he went sober in 2021, only months before filming the viral Friends Reunion HBO Max special. In his 2022 book, he stated that he was still sober, saying, “My therapist said, ‘The next time you think about taking Oxycontin, just think about having a colostomy bag for the rest of your life…'” And then a small window opened, and I went through it, and I no longer desire Oxycontin.”

Matthew had previously been hospitalized for three months in 2018 due to a stomach perforation. He used Twitter at the time to announce the terrible situation in a hilarious manner. “I spent three months in a hospital bed.” “Check,” he said at the time.

He appeared on The View in November 2022 and informed co-host Whoopi Goldberg that he was “doing really well” and that his life was “going great.”

Around the same time, Matthew gave an open interview to Diane Sawyer about his problems while marketing his biography. He described taking 55 Vicodin tablets per day, being in a coma for two weeks, and undergoing 14 procedures.

“One of the things I have to deal with is that my family rushed to the hospital and were told that I have a 2 percent chance to make it through the night,” he told a reporter at the time. “And, you know, my mom heard that, and my dad heard that.”

Matthew stated at the time that he was on the “winning side” of his recovery path. “I’ve surrendered, but to the winning side, not the losing,” he said in his autobiography. “I’m no longer mired in an impossible battle with drugs and alcohol.”

Following Matthew’s tragic death, TMZ said that the toxicology results found that he died as a result of the “acute effects of ketamine.”

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