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#Matthew Perry Reflected on Addiction, Brushes With Death in His 2022 Memoir

Just a year before Matthew Perry was found dead, the Friends star was the subject of an hour-long sit-down interview with Diane Sawyer about his memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.

In the special and in other media appearances to promote his book, Perry spoke about his past struggles with addiction but indicated he was doing well and seemed optimistic about his future.

In a separate interview with The New York Times, Perry said he had been sober for 18 months and had “probably spent $9 million or something trying to get sober” after dealing with addictions to alcohol and opioids.

In the book and the promotion thereof, Perry recalled how at the height of his addiction, during his later years on Friends, he was taking 55 Vicodin pills a day. And he recalled going to open houses to steal pills out of strangers’ medicine cabinets.

He also spoke and wrote about multiple times in which he had been close to death, opening the book with the now-chilling phrase that he “should be dead.”

He spent two weeks in a coma, followed by months of recovery, in 2018 when his colon burst as the result of his drug use. And he told People in a cover story timed to the release of his book that the doctors told his family he had a “2 percent chance to live”

“I was put on a thing called an ECMO machine, which does all the breathing for your heart and your lungs. And that’s called a Hail Mary. No one survives that,” he said. “There were five people put on an ECMO machine that night and the other four died and I survived. So the big question is why? Why was I the one? There has to be some kind of reason.”

During a live event in New York days after the Diane Sawyer interview aired, Perry wondered if he was only alive because of his beloved role as Chandler Bing on the hit NBC sitcom.

Recalling someone administering CPR on him for five minutes, Perry said, “If I wasn’t on Friends, would he have stopped at three minutes?”

Promoting his book, he seemed committed to his sobriety — after 15 trips to rehab — and to helping others with addiction struggles.

“Your sober date changes, but that’s all that changes,” Perry told People. “You know everything you knew before, as long as you were able to fight your way back without dying, you learn a lot.”

He also spoke openly about wanting to settle down and start a family.

At the live interview with Jess Cagle at New York City’s Town Hall, he explained how he was able to release his memoir because he “felt very secure in [his] sobriety”

“It took very hard work to get there. Because you can’t write a book like this and then, you know, you appear drunk at your local bar,” he said.

While it wasn’t tough for him to write the book, he said, recording the audiobook was a sadly humbling experience.

“I read it in one big gulp and it’s like I disassociated a little bit,” he said. “I honestly was like, ‘Oh my God, what a horrible life this man has had.’ And then I realized it’s me and I got grateful.”

In New York last November, Perry said, “The kind of message that I guess I give out with this book is don’t give up. There’s help out there. I’ve been helped on a daily basis. If I didn’t get help, I wouldn’t be sitting here. It’s all about finding somebody that knows more than you about this stuff and just listening to them.”

When Sawyer asked in her own interview when people would know Perry wasn’t doing well, he said, “If I say I’m just gonna chill alone at home tonight. And part two, if I ever say I’m cured.”

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