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Alcohol and Opiates in Star’s Past

A report on Fox News 6 out of Springfield discusses revelations that TV’s Matthew Perry was struggling with addiction during his time on Friends. He is quoted on Good Morning America as how seeing old episodes of the shows makes him feel: “I honestly recoil," Perry said, “It's scary to look at that. I was a sick guy."

Perry, by his own admission, was abusing alcohol and prescription narcotics at the time. The issue is in the news because Perry, now sober, is telling his story, a story of moving from the depths of addiction to a more healthy lifestyle. Among his efforts was donating his Malibu house and turning it into a rehab center to help other addicts. Called, “Perry’s House,” it is a male only facility and focuses on alcoholism.

At the time, his drinking and drugging were the stuff of tabloid speculation. Now, he’s appeared on television talking about what it was like and the road to recovery. Perry has received the “Champions of Recovery” award from US Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske.

A household name talking about addiction in a hopeful way helps to dilute the too-common story of a death following an extended addition-recovery-relapse cycle that is so familiar in Hollywood. After a long list of overdoses, car crashes and court ordered treatment we hear about with other stars, here is a story worth hearing, the depths, and finally, the lasting sobriety.

Why is it that so many actors and celebrities fall into addiction? There’s no easy answer, but one can’t help but feel that plenty of money, time and pleasure seeking have to contribute. There’s also the way we put celebrities on pedestals, as if they were super human elites. It’s hard to tell a famous person, “No. You don’t need this and I won’t help you ruin your life.” It’s too easy for a celebrity to simply create a circle of support – in this case, support for the bad habits they want to pursue.

It’s usually only after they have fallen from grace that we see the true toll addiction has had on them and, if they survive, the possibility of recovery. Perry mentions the stress of success as contributing to his substance abuse.


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