Last week I went to see Matthew Perry speak about his new book Friends, Lovers, and the Big, Terrible thing. For those who don’t know, Perry was one of the stars of the ensemble TV show Friends, and also battled for decades with drug and alcohol addictions.

I am a huge fan of both Matthew Perry and the tv show friends. Though the characters were slightly younger than me, I understood living in NYC, dealing with careers and relationships and all the things that went along with it. It was a timely show for me. Unfortunately, I’ve watched Perry struggle over the years, and continue to root for him as he fights his demons.

Perry almost died a few years ago, from complications due to drug use. He was in a coma for two weeks, and spent I think six months in the hospital. He has been in rehab at least 15 times, and has had to detox something like 39 times. He has had numerous stomach surgeries, and all sorts of complications. He estimates that he has spent in excess of 7 million dollars of rehab and assorted things.

His drug use and rehab and whatever have been Page Six fodder for years. If you are a fan of Perry, you are acutely aware of this.

The event was held at Town Hall, a 1,500 seat performance space. The event was slated to start at 8pm, and would run for an hour. Doors opened at 7pm. You are not allowed to bring food or drink into the auditorium.

I got to Town Hall at about 7:30. When I went to use the restroom, there was a line 50 deep of people waiting to buy drinks at the bar.

I drink alcohol. I have a mimosa or bellini with brunch, and I like a cocktail if we are out to a nice dinner. Last weekend my husband and I attended a Barolo tasting event. I don’t have an issue with alcohol per se.

But…

This was an event that featured a man who just wrote a book about his problems with addiction…about he almost died three years ago and spent SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS on rehab…

So I can’t help but wonder why hoards of people had to gulp down a cocktail while standing in a space that was housing hundreds but meant for maybe forty comfortably…

Was there enjoyment of the alcohol at that moment?

Were they drinking because they could?

Were they drinking because they had to?

If you wanted to have a drink, wouldn’t it have been nicer to go to one of the hundreds of bars that dot the midtown landscape either before or after the show, where you could sit, or at least lounge comfortably, sip your drink and chat with your friends?

I don’t blame the venue for selling cocktails- they clearly raked in a lot of money that night…but as people ponied up to the bar and spent twenty dollars for a drink, were any of them thinking about what brought them to the theater that night? Has drinking become a habit that we don’t consciously think about?

My ex husband was an addict/alcoholic, and it wasn’t a pretty picture. I don’t know if we really think about what alcohol and drug abuse does to us as a society. This book should be a reminder of that, or at least a cautionary tale. Here’s this good looking, intelligent, talented guy who seemingly had everything- and he still succumbed to its siren call. We are all vulnerable. We must be more sensitive to that.

56 thoughts on “Drinks All Around

  1. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the selling of alcohol, considering the topic. I get it…the venue wants to make money. But then the people who still chose to drink up, understanding the struggles he went through seems somewhat insensitive and selfish. Then again, I tend to be extra touchy with this subject matter for a number of reasons. Here’s hoping he finds success in sobriety!!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. He clearly did. He said he’s ready to help anyone who needs the help. However, I wonder if the people waiting twenty minutes at the bar were consciously thinking about what they were doing…that’s the part that scares me. The person who just thinks they need to drink because it’s 5pm…

        Liked by 3 people

  2. I think for some people if there is a bar that means you buy a drink, no matter the situation. I drink, but would not stand in that line for a drink when I could get one easier after if I wanted. I also think I would probably feel weird drinking at an event like that.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. While I ascribe to the, if there’s a bathroom I’ll use it philosophy, I think you need to really think aboit the why you need to get a drink just cause there’s a bar

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I also think it was rather callous to sell alcohol at this event. Then again, if I go to a restaurant and I’m on a diet, they still serve dessert. So, I suppose as long as something is legal, they can’t deny people from ordering it.

    I obviously watched the show friends, but I wasn’t a super fan until years later. I think mainly because I was in my 40’s when the show was on and Since I couldn’t be carefree like the protagonists, a part of me couldn’t relate to the lives of 20 something kids.. The comedic Ensemble was clearly brilliant but I admit I’d sometimes got annoyed at the stupidity of Rachel and Monica. Especially when I’d fought so hard for Women’s rights and they often seemed helpless. I loved Phoebe however. Her ridiculousness I took as naivety not stupidity and I could relate to her being an eternal hippy. I realize of course that for me I was just angry that I personally never got to experience being carefree in my 20’s. I was a mother at 24 and a single mother by 25 so I had to grow up quickly and be a working mom. No time for fun and frivolity.

    However , years later in reruns I watched, absolutely loved the show and appreciated the tremendous ensemble it was. Plus, during reruns, my youngest son watched it too and so he could enjoy because he was in his late 20’s and I was old enough to not be envious of anyone young.

    In regards to Mathew Perry. I often wondered what happened to Him because he seemed to disappear when his costars were all successful working actors. I was often shocked at how badly he’d aged compared to his cast mates when he did show up now and then. . I later learned of his addiction. Very sad. And I wonder why he didn’t have a better support system. I hope he stays sober and regaines a portion of the talented actor he was. His addiction took a tremendous toll on his physicality and his health. I hope his lecture, show, whatever it was called was a success. And hopefully he will continue on his road back. To sobriety.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m squarely in his corner rooting him on, as I will cheer in any recovering addict. It’s tough and I support those who do it. That being said…I think we treat drug use and alcohol use too lightly…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. The people in his circle of friends, his agent, his family, all should have done more. It’s an illness and he certainly needed more help. I’m happy he finally is on a better track now. Good for him.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I was raised by alcoholics all around and have any number situated still on the outskirts of my world. Honestly, even while I understand the mechanisms behind alcoholism and addiction I am very intolerant of any situation like you describe above. The only thing the venue wanted was $$, the people attending may have been ignorant, uncaring, disinterested in the point of the evening, or desperate for their next drink, or anywhere in the middle. That was a no win situation all around- both for Perry and his message, but also for those who could not see a connection to his life and their desire/need to drink in that specific setting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was such a weird place to drink. The lobby is small, crowded, bathroom lines meshing with it…it didn’t sit well with me at all and I’ve been overthinking it for a week as I read the book

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve been a big drinker and a non-drinker (you could even ask for my opinion on the best alcohol free gin), and have also spent too much of my life around alcoholics in close quarters. I’m going to say that I think it was a combination of utter thoughtlessness and a “it couldn’t happen to me” mindset. I was interested to hear he was doing a speaking tour as the last time I saw him he was (sadly) barely coherent. I also hope he’s found whatever he needs to stay sober this time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The whole thing didn’t sit well with me. I’ve been overthinking it for a week…we need to take a beat and ask ourselves why we are taking a drink. Is it because wine enhances our meal? Because a cold beer on a hot day is wonderful? Or because we just come home and have a drink. When it becomes rote, a habit, we have to question our motivations

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I just drink socially and that would have been a time I would have a drink, however, it does seem rather inappropriate given the subject. At the same time, while my husband was going through his heavy drinking phase and would occasionally try to abstain, I would either feel guilty because I wanted a drink but didn’t want to drink in front of him or I would resent the fact that I felt I shouldn’t drink in front of him. The whole alcohol abuse issue is a tricky one on all sides. I like Matthew Perry and Friends and hope that this time it sticks for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sounds like greed won out over common sense. Who would sell alcoholic beverages at a talk about not being an alcoholic/addict? Answer: someone who wanted to rake in the money. Am I too cynical here?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I hadn’t realized the true extent of Mathew Perry’s problems…that’s amazing what he has been able to overcome! but I agree with you, that was neither the time nor the place to be drinking alcohol, and it does make you wonder why people felt the need to do it. Perhaps they struggle with addiction themselves, and really needed that drink, and maybe that’s why they wanted to hear Perry talk? We’ll never know, but I do think our society downplays the dark side of drinking far too much…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t realize he almost died three years ago…and a few other times as well. I’m rooting for him to beat this. And yes…we don’t how we are playing with fire…we are far too cavalier about substance abuse

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I did not realize that Mathew struggled with addictions. I hope this time he stays away from the drinks and enjoys the time he has left. I hope the talk was good? And yes, it does seem odd in that context to sell alcohol? xxoo, C

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I knew he’d had his ups and downs, but also did not realize the extent of his problem. I think the important thing is that he was brave (and well) enough to get out there and share his story. I wish him nothing but the best…I’ve always found Matthew Perry to be a pretty likable guy!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Didn’t realize your ex was an alcoholic as is my idiot-ex. I think it takes some of them longer (and more time and money) to realize they cannot ever indulge again, even one little bit. From what I’ve seen of Mr. Perry, I like the place where he’s at though I find it hard to sympathize with how long and how much money it took to get there, given that he had the means. Maybe if I read his book, I’ll at least empathize a bit more.

    As to your question, I’m sure Mr. Perry appreciates how different he is from most of us and at the same time that the venue has to make a buck, as he did back in the day (and I’m amazed he has any left)

    Liked by 1 person

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