The world will forever remember Chandler Bing as the sardonic friend who loved Monica Geller and biting sarcasm.
But if you ask Matthew Perry — the real-life person who brought Chandler into our living rooms — having created the iconic “Friends” character isn’t the biggest accomplishment in his life nowadays:
“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my life and a lot of wonderful accolades. But the best thing about me is that if an alcoholic comes up to me and says, ‘Will you help me stop drinking?’ I will say, ‘Yes. I know how to do that.”
Matthew Perry’s experience with drug and alcohol abuse and his subsequent sobriety made headlines all through the late ‘90s — and maybe, he said in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, for the better.
Being on a TV show that tens of millions of people were watching gave Perry a unique platform to help others, the actor explained.
“When I was in big trouble, it was so public because I was on a TV show that 30 million people were watching,” the former Friends actor said. “The fact that I [am] on TV makes people listen a little bit more, so I take advantage of that from time to time.”
And, judging from the facts, it’s definitely a perspective worthy of our attention.
Painkiller abuse in the world has surged in the past several years.
“The United States is in the midst of a prescription painkiller overdose epidemic,” according to the CDC. While Americans aren’t reporting any more pain, the number of prescription painkillers prescribed and sold in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1999.
The center reported in 2011 that increasing painkiller abuse was responsible for more American deaths than cocaine and heroin combined.
Gil Kerlikowske, former director of National Drug Control Policy, spoke on its effects in 2011, claiming painkiller abuse “is a silent epidemic … stealing thousands of lives and tearing apart communities and families across America.”
That’s why Perry has spoken out about his own demons loud and clear.
The actor explained to The Hollywood Report how selflessness can be key to getting sober.
In his interview, Perry praised Phoenix House, a rehab center based in Venice, California, for helping him get back on the right track.
The center was instrumental in his recovery, Perry acknowledged, but it’s ultimately an addict’s responsibility to reach sobriety: “They’re not the finished product,” he said of treatment facilities. “You have to follow it up with a lot of hard work afterwards.”
Perry noted it’s better for someone struggling with addiction to think more about others and less about themselves.
“The most important thing in battling addiction is always to get outside of your head and help another person. When you’re having a bad day, call somebody and ask them how they’re doing, and actually pay attention and listen to the answer.”
Perry is hoping that he can help others reach their sobriety by telling his story.