Matthew Perry continues to share candid moments from his long road to sobriety and the struggles he endured during his run on NBC’s Friends while jo-yoting between Vicodin and alcohol addictions.
In an excerpt from his new book, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, Perry tells how a visit to his trailer by costar Jennifer Aniston made him realize his secret behavior about alcohol wasn’t so secret after all.
“‘I know you drink,’ she said,” Perry, now 53, writes in the memoir, in an excerpt released by the Times of London.
“I was long over her – I’ve been fine since she started dating Brad Pitt – and had calculated exactly how long I had to look at her without being embarrassed, but still devastating to be confronted with Jennifer Aniston to become. And I was confused,” he continued.
“‘How do you know?’ I said. I’ve never worked drunk. ‘I was trying to hide it…'”
Elsewhere in the excerpt, Perry mentioned that he’s “never” worked high or drunk (although he’s “certainly worked hungover”), and he said he’s largely able thanks to his castmates, as part of the wildly successful “Friends” ensembles and how they “would group together [him] and support [him] up” like an injured penguin being supported by the other penguins.
“I was the hurt penguin, but I was determined not to let down these wonderful people and this show,” he wrote.
But that day in Perry’s trailer, Aniston made it clear to him that he was getting away with nothing.
“‘We can smell it,’ she said in a strange but loving way, and the plural ‘we’ hit me like a sledgehammer,” Perry wrote.
“‘I know I drink too much,’ I said, ‘but I don’t know exactly what to do about it.'”
The ‘Whole Nine Yards’ star also describes in the new book how his weight fluctuated wildly because the pills made him sick and reduced his appetite or alcohol made him gassy.
“You can track the progression of my addiction if you measure my weight from season to season – if I’m carrying weight, it’s alcohol; When I’m skinny, it’s pills. If I have a goatee, that’s a lot of pills.”
Perry even referenced specific points in the hit series’ 10th season and pointed out to readers what was going on with his addiction at the time.
“By the end of Season 3, I was spending most of my time trying to figure out how to get 55 Vicodin a day – I had to have 55 every day or I was going to get so sick. It was a full-time job: making calls, seeing doctors, faking migraines, finding corrupt nurses to give me what I need,” Perry wrote.
The actor said recently He’s finally ready to share his experience now that he’s safely on the other side of addiction.
“I wanted to share it when I was sure I wouldn’t go back to the dark side of it all,” Perry told People about the book. “I had to wait until I was pretty sure I was sober – and off the active illness of alcoholism and addiction – to write it all down. And most importantly, I was pretty sure it would help people.”
Matthew Perry’s Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing is out November 1 on Headline.