“I would fake back injuries. I would fake migraine headaches. I had eight doctors going at the same time,” Perry said. “I would wake up and have to get 55 Vicodin that day, and figure out how to do it. When you’re a drug addict, it’s all math. I go to this place, and I need to take three. And then I go to this place, and I’m going to take five because I’m going to be there longer. It’s exhausting but you have to do it or you get very, very sick. I wasn’t doing it to feel high or to feel good. I certainly wasn’t a partyer; I just wanted to sit on my couch, take five Vicodin and watch a movie. That was heaven for me. It’s no longer.”
Perry said he had been clean for 18 months, which means that he was newly drug- and alcohol-free when the “Friends” reunion aired in May 2021.
“I’ve probably spent $9 million or something trying to get sober,” he estimated.
Most addicts don’t have Perry’s resources. But they have what he called “the gift of anonymity,” while his bleakest moments have been photographed, chronicled and occasionally mocked. For the record, Perry isn’t a huge fan of secrecy as it pertains to Alcoholics Anonymous, where he sponsors three members. He explained: “It suggests that there’s a stigma and that we have to hide. This is not a popular opinion, by the way.”
Perry’s demeanor brightened when we talked about pickleball, his latest obsession. He built a court at the house he’s moving into in the Palisades. He plays with friends and hired pros He said, “I thought it would be a good idea to pump myself up, to play pickleball before this interview, but basically I’m about to fall asleep in your lap.”
So what inspired him to write a book?
After his extended stay in a Los Angeles hospital, Perry started tapping out his life story on the Notes app on his phone. When he hit 110 pages, he showed them to his manager, who told him to keep going. He worked at his dining room table for about two hours a day, no more: “It was hard to face all this stuff.”
Perry has written for television (“The Odd Couple,” “Mr. Sunshine”) before but, “writing a book I had not really thought of before,” he said. “Whenever I bumped into something that I didn’t really want to share, I would think of the people that I would be helping, and it would keep me going.”