Matthew Perry, Recovery, Drug Courts and Finding Real Solutions

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I caught Matthew Perry the other night on a British Talk show discussing his recovery and the goal of his team to create a drug court, so as to separate those who need treatment and support to rehabilitate, from those who do not.  Now I love The Five on Fox News, something I look forward to every day, but I was heartbroken to see them throw Matthew under the bus for being off on a question of fact he was unclear on rather than seeing the big picture of him going on the show at all. Not wanting to put out an answer he was not positive about, he bravely admitted he only knew his experience with recovery, and did not feel comfortable sharing anything that he had not personally experienced. Being a parent of a child who has suffered the illness and gone into recovery long ago, a child who happens to know Matthew and had been very involved in the same groups in LA as he was, I know Matthew is taking a huge risk and showing extraordinary bravery going public and walking the walk of recovery publicly. To make fun of him, as The Five did on Fox, was so opposite the reaction anyone should have. I believe the key to recovery is honesty, and sharing one’s own experience is the best way to heal oneself and others.   Anyone who has traveled time and time again in the alcohol and drug world, then by the Grace of God ended up in recovery, whether they may or may not be an expert, often can do more to help others just by sharing their personal knowledge and experience. Often far more helpful then therapy or psychiatric help, a sponsor or an honest share can be the key to recovery for someone who is lost and not sure what to do. In AA it is in the giving, the 12th step, that you receive, and being a supportive ear is what most suffering from addiction or alcoholism need.  When you give back and are there for others –regardless of what consequence your speaking out truthfully about your own struggle may be, then you are a hero in my book.  There are dozens of well known, a list celebrities who go to AA every day in New York and LA who would never take the risk of being ostracized or judged and prefer to stay anonymous-to step outside of that should be commended. In our celebrity culture it may be the famous in recovery that can do the most.  Any person who has struggled with addiction problems, which often has a genetic component and not a choice, should be cheered on and respected. We have far too many people in jail who have addiction problems that can be better served and have a chance to rebuild happy healthy lives with court ordered rehabilitation, so why not try the drug court idea out? If we are spending 60000 dollars per prisoner per year, I’m sure for a quarter of that we can have drug courts and rehabilitate rather than putting these people in jail thus making recovery nearly impossible and living a healthy happy life doubtful. I believe Matthew Perry can and is making a difference with his drug court campaign, and how refreshing to see such truth and honesty regardless of risks or consequences. I wish the news programs, pundits especially, saw the humanity in a person reaching  out to help those who suffer, but I guess until you walk the walk or are affected by a loved one or friend’s illness you really can’t understand. Maybe it is The Five who should become more educated on his mission. By judging him they really are just defining themselves. We should all be in this together.

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