July 2, 2013 at 11:54 AM ET
"Friends" star Matthew Perry battled addictions for more than a decade, going through two rehab stays during his time on the hit sitcom. Now sober, the actor wants to give back to others struggling with their own addictions.
But for Perry, giving back doesn't mean making a donation or lending his name to a cause. As he mentioned in the new issue of People, he's actually opened up his four-bedroom Malibu home to men who need help, offering them a place to get clean.
Perry, who no longer lives at the residence, has worked with interventionist and addiction specialist Earl Hightower to convert the home to a full sober-living center called Perry House, which offers meditation programs and a 12-step workshop.
"When I die, I'd like 'Friends' to be listed behind helping people," Perry told the magazine.
In that effort, Perry took his passion about addiction recovery all the way to Congress last October, where he testified in favor of drug courts that allow offenders to seek treatment rather than go to jail.
"Matthew is an ambassador of possibility for a vast group of people," Hightower told the magazine. "People he'll never meet will get services because he championed their cause."
Perry also opened about his own past problems in his interview with People, and explained that his personal low hit at a time the public thought he was living through an all-time high.
"I was on 'Friends' from age 24 to 34. I was in the white-hot flame of fame," he said. "The six of us were just everywhere all the time. 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."
Perry faced other additions too, including prescription pain pills.
"I was never high at work," he insisted. "I was painfully, painfully hung over. Then eventually things got so bad I couldn't hide it, and then everybody knew."
Then he got help, the sort he now hopes to offer others through Perry House.