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Matthew Perry - A Remembrance in Advocacy

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As a 90’s kid, I remember “Friends” being the biggest television show. Every week it seemed like the show reached new heights, I recall my parents’ friends having watch parties and that when the characters on the show got married they got the same reception as a British royal Wedding. Hearing about his recent passing was a shock to everyone, and perhaps many were unaware of the struggles with addiction that Matthew Perry went through; and his battle for recovery. While Perry was here he wanted those who needed help to reach out and get the support that they needed.

One important thing to realize about addiction is that it can happen to anyone. Addiction is not an evaluation of a person’s character, it’s a disease that can be helped through treatment. In 1997, Perry had a ski accident and was prescribed a powerful painkiller. “It wasn’t my intention to have a problem with it,” he said in a 2002 interview. “But from the start, I liked how it made me feel and I wanted to get more.” As his addiction escalated, “I was out of control.” This was followed by several stays in rehab, years of sobriety, and years of struggling, but throughout Matthew Perry’s challenges, he fought for others to raise awareness about the struggle with addiction. Another aspect to remember about recovery is that it is a process, it has ups and it has downs and Matthew Perry’s struggle with addiction showcased the real challenges of this process. If a person does relapse, support should be offered to them, and their entering treatment should not be associated with stigma. Matthew turned his own home into a facility to help those recover from their addictions.

In my own life, I had an older cousin who passed away from her addiction problems. For years she fought and our family supported her, however in the end, she did lose that battle and her life. Perhaps you have your own family member that’s struggling with addiction and you know how challenging such a struggle can be at times.

Matthew Perry’s passing is tough for those who were big fans of “Friends” and for those who knew Perry through his other works. It is important to remember for yourself or other loved ones that recovery is possible. Don’t be afraid to contact mental health services or addiction specialists for help and care for yourself or someone you know.