American-Canadian actor, Matthew Perry has opened up on his addiction to alcohol.
Speaking with Diane Sawyer of ABC News, the 53-year-old Friends actor, recalled how he drank an ‘entire bottle’ of wine at the age of 14.
According to Matthew, he ‘had never drank before’ prior to the experience at 14, which impacted him tremendously.
‘I lay in the grass and was in heaven,’ said Perry, who is promoting his new memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, which details his battle with addiction. ‘I thought to myself, “This must be the way normal people feel all the time.”‘
The Williamstown, Massachusetts native added: ‘By the time I was 18, I was drinking every day.’
Perry, who played Chandler Bing on the NBC smash hit, told Sawyer that he began taking prescription pain medication in 1997 after a jet ski accident while he was filming the movie Fools Rush In.
‘I had to wake up and realize I needed to get 55 [Vicodin pills] or I was going to be really sick. A bunch of doctors, fake migraines,’ he said. ‘I guess the weirdest thing I did was on Sundays I would go to open houses and go to the bathrooms in the open house and see what pills they had in there and steal them.
‘I think they thought, “Well, there’s no way that Chandler came in and stole from us.”‘
Sawyer asked Perry in the interview, ‘How will we know when you’re in trouble, when you’re not okay?’ to which Perry said, ‘If I say, “I’m just going to chill at home alone tonight;” and part two, the other thing, is if I ever say, “I’m cured.”‘
Perry says his longtime battle with addiction has seen him in therapy for 30 years; go to rehab 15 times; go to about 6,000 AA meetings and survive 14 surgeries.
The actor told Sawyer that while he was suffering from alcohol addiction during his years, he did not use substances while on the set of the NBC hit.
‘I made a rule that I would never drink or take anything at work,’ Perry said. ‘So I would never do that, but I would show up blindly hungover. Like shaking. I loved Chandler, I loved the show. And I knew, “Remember this, because it’s going to be the best time of your life.” And I knew I would never forgive myself if I messed this up.’