Matthew Perry Talks Sobriety: 'I'm an Award-Winning Alcoholic'
By Meredith B. Kile
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Matthew Perry is opening up about his struggles with sobriety, but doing it in his own sardonic way.
"I'm an award-winning alcoholic, I guess," the Friends star joked to The Hollywood Reporter about accepting the Phoenix Rising Award from nonprofit rehabilitation organization Phoenix House. "I shouldn't be getting an award; Phoenix House should be getting an award."
Perry’s struggles with drug and alcohol addiction were visible to the world. While the actor’s sober journey included inpatient stays at treatment facilities like Phoenix House, for the most part, the actor lived his ups and down on one of TV’s most popular sitcoms.
"When I was in big trouble, it was so public because I was on a TV show that 30 million people were watching," Perry told THR. "The fact that I [am] on TV makes people listen a little bit more, so I take advantage of that from time to time."
The actor now sees his notoriety as a blessing. He is striving to help other addicts at his own sober living facility, Perry House.
"I've had a lot of ups and downs in my life and a lot of wonderful accolades," he said, "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.' "
Perry admitted that kind of one-on-one interaction can be key for people struggling with addiction.
"When you're having a bad day, the best thing you can do is call somebody and ask them how they're doing," Perry said, "and actually pay attention and listen to the answer to get out of your own head."