Okay, I’ll admit it – I’m a “Friends” fan. I have been since its inception so many years ago, and I’ve been known to watch a rerun every now and then. That show told an amazing story of six young people with very different personalities, values, and opinions who simply loved each other through all of it and would always have each other’s backs. It was funny and heartwarming, all at the same time.
My favourite character was Chandler Bing – I loved his irreverent sense of humour and, let’s face it, he was some lovely eye candy back in the day. Being in the addictions field, both as a therapist and as a recovering addict myself, I knew of Matthew Perry’s struggles but didn’t know very much of his story – until now, with his decision to share it with us.
I certainly didn’t know that he spent approximately $9 million on his recovery – which I find incredibly excessive. It’s hard to imagine that kind of astronomical cost: he must have gone to a number of very posh country-club-type rehabs to even come close to spending that much. This man has certainly had his ups and downs in life, as all addicts in active addiction do – but a great many of his were played out in the media for all to see. That can’t be an easy way to bounce between addiction and recovery.
Why Matthew Perry Is Speaking Out Now
As I’ve watched Mr. Perry on the talk show circuit lately, the first thing I felt was compassion and respect for a man who truly wants to help. He clearly wants to share his story in order to make it easier for others to recover from addiction. Yes, I also believe he wants to sell his book – and as an author myself, I understand that. But I believe the difference here for him is the same as it is for me: even if I never made a dime on my book, if it helps families understand what addiction really is and how they can actually HELP the addicts they love so dearly – instead of continuing to enable them – then I would be happy.
I’ve heard Mr. Perry say recently that he wrote his book in order to help others come out of addiction. And while I think that’s true, I have an issue with some of the things he’s saying, and that is what I want to address here.
Clearly, the 12-Step model is working for him – and I’m glad for him. Whatever it takes to become and stay clean and sober is what’s required. The 12-Step “disease” model works for a lot of people. It worked for me, for about the first 10 years of my recovery. (I am currently 35 years clean and sober.) These groups are quite amazing and unique in several ways. There is the fellowship – being able to meet like-minded people who also want to have and maintain their sobriety. There is sponsorship for those who wish to have one designated person to help when an addict starts to wobble in their recovery. And there are a number of events to attend outside of scheduled meetings, such as getting together for coffee, dances, and “round-ups” all over the world. There is certainly no reason for any addict to feel bored or unchallenged as part of the 12-Step world. [Read more…]