Matthew Perry discusses addiction struggles, opens sober-living facility

Matthew Perry attends the White House Correspondents' Association Matthew Perry attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. (April 27, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Former "Friends" star Matthew Perry, opening up about his addiction issues, says he has turned one of his homes into a sober-living facility.

"Trying to overcome addiction is one of the hardest things for a person to do," Perry -- who did three rehab stints between 1997 and 2011 -- says in the new issue of People magazine, out Friday.

His alcoholism, he says, began even before NBC's "Friends" started its 10-season run in 1994. "I was on 'Friends' from age 24 to 34," the actor, 43, said. "From an outsider's perspective, it would seem like I had it all. It was actually a very lonely time for me because I was suffering from alcoholism. It was going on before 'Friends,' but it's a progressive disease."

Exacerbating the issue was the painkiller Vicodin, which a doctor prescribed after a personal watercraft accident in 1997. "I had a big problem with pills and alcohol, and I couldn't stop," he said.

Perry, 43, assured, "I was never high at work. [But] I was painfully, painfully hung over. Then eventually things got so bad I couldn't hide it, and then everybody knew."

He began treatment with addiction specialist Earl Hightower, he says, but, "I was stubborn and I wanted to do things my way [until] I finally got it. Something clicked. You have to want the help. You have to be willing to change. I finally realized what had been told to me 500 times."

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Perry converted a Malibu, Calif., house he bought in 2005 into a sober-living facility. He and Hightower, he says, "put our heads together, and Perry House opened about six months ago. So now that ego-driven mistake is being used to help people. How cool is that?"

Today, he says, "I'm in a really good place. I'm really comfortable."

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