I didn’t know him personally, but reading and hearing about Matthew Perry‘s struggles with addiction and sobriety, I heard something that made me understand him a little… as much as you can know someone who dealt with it for almost all of his adult life.
In one interview he said he was desperate to fit in to the world, not just of making TV shows and movies, but just to fit in. Amen, brother. It is something a lot of people in the arts deal with: trying to make it in a very fickle and unforgiving business, being judged by people who have the same issues, and going literally from rags to riches and back again in one season of a TV series that may be beautifully crafted but has the wrong time slot.
By every outside measure, he had a successful career: a hit show that earned him millions per episode. But he knew, as anyone who knows that sobriety and peace is ever fleeting, that it wouldn’t last or make him happy. So even as he struggled more than 60 times to get sober he reached out to help others.
He once wrote, “When I die, I know people will talk about Friends, Friends, Friends. And I’m glad of that, happy I’ve done some solid work as an actor, as well as given people multiple chances to make fun of my struggles on the world wide web… but when I die, as far as my so-called accomplishments go, it would be nice if Friends was listed far behind the things I did to try to help other people. I know it won’t happen, but it would be nice.”
I’ll remember him for being with me on the journey.