I am not doing this on purpose, but am actually writing this blog post while an episode of Friends with Slovak dubbing is playing in the background. You can often find me listening to the Slovak version of Friends while am doing other stuff.
This book has opened mine eyes to one pleasant fact:
My addictions were 90 percent of the time still sort of… reasonable… compared to Matthew Perry’s struggles with alcohol, opioids, nicotine and hunt for women.
The book makes you feel like the author shared even the most embarrassing aspects of his addiction.
This should of course make you sceptical. Probably there is even worse stuff that he did not share. That should make you shudder, cause what IS shared is horrible enough.
If you need a book to convince you to stop drinking alcohol this might very well be it.
Matthew explains how addiction works fairly well. His fellow Canadian, the renowed psychiatrist and addiction expert Gabor Maté, would certainly approve.
The Friends star makes it very clear that addiction is a disease and should be treated as such.
I especially liked the part where he explains that when you are sober and you seem to have kicked the bad habits your addiction is just patiently hitting the gym in the corner and growing stronger. Ready to pounce and wreak havoc once you let your guard down and think you are cured. There is no cure for addiction other than abstaining and eternal vigilance.
It’s also sad and yet fascinating to note how often Matthew was going through his worst struggles when his career was peaking.
No addict will be surprised to see how many times Matthew got clean and then relapsed.
I am convinced an addiction gets worse every time you relapse. Confirming the observation in this book that your addiction is building muscle whenever you think you have finally freed yourself from its clutches.
The book is well-written. If you get the audiobook version it’s Matthew himself who reads it. That’s a real treat.
It’s also a warning against drug use in its own right. Matthew now sounds like he is permanently drunk even when sober…
A chilling moment comes when he says the dopamine receptors in his brain have been damaged permanently. From overstimulation.
The saddest moment is when he describes the time right after his father left the family to pursue an acting career in far away California.
As Gabor Maté always says: ‘Don’t ask: why the addiction? Ask: why the pain?’
Matthew was treated to a steady stream of pain in his early childhood. It’s pretty obvious where his raging appetite for the booze and other stupor inducing habits comes from.
Scary is that there seems to be no real cure.
If someone worth millions of dollars beloved by millions of people all around the world can’t find a way to kick an addiction once and forever then how is a less pecuniary powerful person going to do it?
Also worth noting: Matthew Perry was most of the time a functioning addict. He may not remember several seasons of recording Friends, but he was there. He showed up for work. It didn’t make him any less funny and the fans never noticed just how addicted he was, apart from his strange fluctations in body weight.
This book wouldn’t be written by the actor who gaves us one of the funniest fictional characters ever if wasn’t funny at times.
There were moments where the book made me laugh out loud.
It’s a deadly serious book however.
The book also made me think that if I had enjoyed the level of success of Matthew Perry at this age I would have either been dead or have ended up pretty much the same, if not worse…
The only thing I find missing in this book is a surefire prescription for how to cure an addiction.
Such a thing probably doesn’t exist and, to his credit, Matthew doesn’t pretend it’s out there.
All I can say is:
If you have children take very, very good care of them and provided them with the most stable, loving, safe environment possible.
Fun fact: A most essential characteristic of Chandler’s character arose from a time Matthew was goofing around with childhood friends. We will NOT be spoiling it for you. You will HAVE to read the book to discover WHICH characteristic it is.
But seriously now, should you read the book?
If you are a big fan of Friends AND are interested in the still mysterious machinations of addiction? Then yes.
Chandler Muriel Bing wrote a book and you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Would you like more book reviews?
Then please help us buy some more books. An audiobook sets us back about 10 dollars.
I got it for Christmas, looking forward to starting it.
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Fasten seatbelts then 🙂