Matthew Perry Confesses He Was Given Just 2% Chance of Living After His Colon Burst Due To Opioid Addiction

After going to the 'dark side' of addiction, 'Friends' star Matthew Perry reveals how close he came to losing his life while struggling with his opioid addiction.

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Matthew Perry is grateful to be alive. The 53-year-old comedic actor who brought Chandler Bing to life on Friends opened up about his past struggles with drugs and alcohol in his new memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing. Four years ago, when he was 49, Matthew was rushed to the hospital with gastrointestinal perforation, but unbeknownst to the public, he was fighting for his life after his colon burst from opioid overuse. “The doctors told my family that I had a 2 percent chance to live,” Perry writes in a selection of his memoir published by PEOPLE. “I was put on a thing called an ECMO machine, which does all the breathing for your heart and your lungs. And that’s called a Hail Mary. No one survives that.”

As it turns out, Matthew spent two weeks in a coma, and five more months hospitalized. He also had to use a colostomy bag for nine months, something that wasn’t publicly known. He also revealed how much the drugs had taken over his life, admitting that during his time on Friends, Matthew was taking 55 Vicodin pills a day and was down to 128 pounds.” I didn’t know how to stop,” he writes. “If the police came over to my house and said, ‘If you drink tonight, we’re going to take you to jail,’ I’d start packing. I couldn’t stop because the disease and the addiction is progressive. So it gets worse and worse as you grow older.”

(Dave Allocca/Starpix/Shutterstock)

Matthew writes that by the time he was 34, he was “really entrenched in a lot of trouble” with his addiction. “But there were years that I was sober during that time. Season 9 was the year that I was sober the whole way through. And guess which season I got nominated for best actor? I was like, ‘That should tell me something.'”

Sobriety didn’t come easy. Matthew wrote that he went to rehab 15 times over the years, but now, he says that he’s “a pretty healthy guy” right now. “It’s important, but if you lose your sobriety, it doesn’t mean you lose all that time and education,” he says. “Your sober date changes, but that’s all that changes. You know everything you knew before, as long as you were able to fight your way back without dying, you learn a lot.”

(Dave Allocca/Starpix/Shutterstock)

His time in the hospital has been a great motivator to stay clean. “My therapist said, ‘The next time you think about taking Oxycontin, just think about having a colostomy bag for the rest of your life,'” he writes. “And a little window opened and I crawled through it and I no longer want Oxycontin anymore.”

Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir is available Nov. 1 from Flatiron books

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