The One Where We All Lost a Friend: Matthew Perry

Matthew Perry: A Loss of a Friend | The Enterprise World

It was Saturday morning, along with me was a dearest friend, sipping a hot cup of tea to rub off the long last night. In the middle of a sip, she gasped and almost spilled the tea. I took the cup from her hand which was now cold and shivery. Her eyes, somehow seemed bigger than usual, as if she saw a ghost. She took the time to process what was going on with her and so did I. Breaking the window of silence, her lips moved as I watched them closely.

Like lightning striking to the ground, I saw her lips move first but the sound of the words took longer to reach my ears. “Matthew Perry is dead”— I saw the same ghost that she did a moment ago. The rest of the day went by in researching this verisimilar news, surfing through the waves of RIPs, callbacks on everyone’s status, and even sobbing for a while.

I feel if one has to write a biography of someone, one must ask the best friend of that someone. No one, but your best friend will tell the most honest story of your life. And here I am telling the story of my friend — Mathew Perry aka Chandler Bing. Just like me, he was a friend to millions of others and his story as a character in the early 90s show “F.R.I.E.N.D.S” is known to all. But Matthew Perry was more than just a character that cracked everyone up. This article is the story of that real friend.

“A Fearful Little Boy”

“What does he need drugs for?” questions were raised. “These are just some superficial celebrity shenanigans” accusations were crafted. But no one had a clue of the storm inside Matthew, which he was battling. Who knew Matthew faced the same parental problems as his character on screen. In his memoir, “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing” Perry mentioned a lifelong feeling of abandonment. Probably caused by the lack of attention from his parents and actual abandonment by his father.

This tragedy became the reason behind Chandlers’ goofy, sarcastic, and soothing attitude. A kid trying to make his mother laugh some more made him a people pleaser. Later on, he developed a decent relationship with both his parents, but that sad and lonely kid refused to disappear.

“Addiction does not define me—Overcoming it does”

The man who made our stomachs hurt and cheeks red as Chandler Bing on “Friends” has died of drowning at age 54. Whether or not his old addictions played a part remains to be determined. In his book, Matthew Perry discussed struggling with sleep issues during much of his life and often turned to drugs (like Xanax) for relief.

Plantation of other seeds of addiction might have been planted early in his life. Prescribing the addictive barbiturate phenobarbital was the solution by many doctors when Matthew was a colicky baby who cried constantly. “For the first time in my life, nothing bothered me. The world made sense. I was complete, at peace. I had never been happier than in that moment.” This was the description he painted after having his first beer at 14.

He was constantly trying to fill a void in space like a black hole that kept growing, accumulating his mass which was his sorrow. Perry believed being famous might be the solution to his problems. “God, you can do whatever you want to me. Just please make me famous.” For the first time in his life, he sat down on his knees, hugged his hands together, and prayed.

Matthew Perry: A Loss of a Friend | The Enterprise World

Three weeks later, Matthew Perry became Chandler Bing. “You have to get famous to know that it’s not the answer. And nobody who is not famous will ever truly believe that” Perry quoted. Apparently, this was not the answer to fill that void without an abyss. After an injury on the set of “Fools Rush In,” Matthew Perry was prescribed a painkiller. Less than two years later, Perry was taking 55 of those pills a day. This incident pushed him deeper into the darkness of addiction.

But that sad, lonely kid was also a worrier, who’d do anything to put a smile on his mother’s face. Who’d smile in every situation that life threw at him. This courage pushed him to seek help and he did. Decades of addiction required many treatment centers and recoveries but one in particular, moved him toward a stronger spiritual life.

Matthew Perry: A Loss of a Friend | The Enterprise World

After praying and asking for help, Perry then noticed a “small, golden light” in the air growing bigger and bigger. “The light engendered a feeling more perfect than the most perfect quantity of drugs I had ever taken. Feeling euphoric now, I did get scared and tried to shake it off. But there was no shaking this off. It was way, way bigger than me. My only choice was to surrender to it…For the first time, I was in the presence of love and acceptance. I knew now that my prayer had been answered. I was in the presence of God.” This very golden light saved him from the darkness of many nights.

He quoted “I feel it when I help someone get sober, the way it hits my heart when they say thank you. Because they don’t know yet that I should really be thanking them.” He then received the Champion of Recovery award from the White House for his work in helping people with addiction as he was helping himself.

Matthew Perry: A Loss of a Friend | The Enterprise World

A Tale of Courage

Matthew Perry and his story of addiction is an admonishing tale, a tale of courage and the never-ending search for love. A story of a man who made friends in every part of the world. He made everyone laugh and cry. He taught us the importance of love and grabbing the hand of our loved ones before we fall deep. His story is the victory of the light over darkness. His story is about overcoming the fear of that little boy to spread joy. I was never bothered by the death of any celebrity.

Whether it was someone I knew or unknown, I overlooked the headlines like potholes on the roads of Mumbai. However, this headline rang a bell inside me and stirred up a lot of emotions like never before. I considered him my friend like many others and this is the story of a friend through a F.R.I.E.N.D.

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