What Can We Learn From Matthew Perry?

Last week I told you I had just received my copy of “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.” It’s Perry’s autobiography.

Matty, as his “friends” called him, died one year to the month after his book came out. He died of ketamine related causes among other physical issues.

It’s a sad tale of a sad person who is seeking belonging, validation, and happiness. He just wanted to feel “different.”

Is it also about betrayal? Is it malpractice? Or is it simply the cunning nature of alcohol and addiction?

At one time, Matty was a spokesperson for NADCP, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. Then he suddenly disappeared.

Now they have Martin Sheen.

Matty, reported his first use of alcohol at age 14. He said that he spent $9M on 15 rehab stints over about 29 years up to and just prior to his death.

This is in addition to his sober living stints.

Nine million dollars for 15 rehabilitation attempts world-wide. Of course, he could afford the best and most expensive treatment providers like some of those mentioned in Newsweek’s top 350 treatment providers.

He does not speak well of them overall. If I understood him correctly, he had more respect for a good AA chapter and sponsor. You can read that for yourselves.

I’m on my second reading of the book. I cannot find any proof that he ever changed his permission-granting beliefs about it being okay to use.

I cannot find any proof that any of the $9M treatment organizations showed him how to change his limiting, permission-granting beliefs.

That’s a particular set of skills.

Knowledge of the stages of change and the 12 core functions of treatment are important for counselors and therapists to know. Especially the counseling part.

Yes. Report writing and billing are important. Documentation is needed.

Change work must be emphasized above all. Matty was not paying for reports and documents. He didn’t care about billing.

He just wanted to feel better. He wanted someone to help him with his sadness. He wanted to change. Did standard protocols get in the way of change work?

Help people change.

If nothing changes, nothing changes. We need to help people like Matthew Perry change. That starts with helping them change their permission-granting addiction beliefs as Beck stated.

“There will be no long-term behavior changes unless you change core beliefs first,” according to Wanberg and Milkman. Albert Ellis showed us how with his ABC-DE Theory.

That’s what Belief Eye Movement Therapy, BEMT, is all about. The primary purpose of BEMT is to help people like Matthew to elicit, recognize and change unwanted, limiting, permission-granting beliefs that will kill them.

The primary goal is change work. Paperwork and billing will follow.

“Message me” if you want to learn how to do BEMT for you or your clients. We can do live staff trainings, Zoom, or any combination.

Has Anyone Read “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing?”

My Matthew Perry book copy finally arrived today. I’m eager to get to it.

There has been a lot in the news about Matthew Perry’s death. Had he been clean as reported?

In today’s news an anonymous ‘friend’ said “he was never clean.”

But is this the point? Is that the big story? Is it burying the lede?

“Matty” as he was known to his friends, reported that he spent $9M on approximately 15 treatment attempts.

Some addiction educators tell us addicts will need 5-7 or more treatments before the person is successful. What is successful?

I think it’s a disservice to teach that. I also believe it’s a disservice to talk about relapse the relapse prevention the way it has been taught.

Why do I feel that way? I had an alcohol problem. I had one two-hour session, and I was done, quit, over it, whatever you want to say.

Coincidentally, I stopped smoking the same day. This has been 40 years ago, the 23rd of this month. No relapses.

I know a little bit about abstinence and Transcendence, the seventh stage of change.

So, you can see why I’m skeptical about the dogma that is taught in some schools. And, I do know that it is not all about me and my recovery. That people are different.

I do believe that what is possible for one person is possible for others. We learn mostly by observation and modeling.

My belief is that anyone can be taught how to stop quicker. As Miller and Rollnick say, “Beliefs of the counselor are as important as the beliefs of the clients.”

To paraphrase Albert Ellis, “Go then; and according to how thou hast believed, be it done unto you.”

If nothing changes, nothing changes. We know beliefs and emotions drive behavior. Change the beliefs and you change the emotions and behaviors.

Belief Eye Movement Therapy, BEMT, is available on Amazon.com

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to all!