From Addict to Internet Celebrity: The Redemption Story of Mike Majlak

mess to clean up this is.

   Not a burden for you to carry this is a personal journey that the addict must go through and decide on their own accord when they are finished when they have had enough pain and when they are ready to change their lives whatever you do couldn’t have been done better whatever you’ve done couldn’t have been done better so what advice do i have to someone who has either lost someone or continues to battle with someone every day keep going keep doing whatever it is you’re doing that is keeping that addict alive because that is the best you could possibly do that’s it that’s all i have i can’t there’s.

   Nothing else i could say there’s.

   No other piece of advice i could give because of how challenging that scenario is besides keep going and don’t let the [ __ ] light go out i’m doug bobst personal trainer best-selling author and entrepreneur and i’m on a mission to help others become the best version of themselves so i’d like to welcome you to the adversity advantage podcast where we will help you use obstacles failures and setbacks to give you that edge.

   Needed for success i’ll be interviewing people from all walks of life on how they overcame trials and turn them into triumphs so please sit back relax and get ready to be absolutely blown away by some of the wisdom and stories you’re about to hear mike malak welcome to the podcast happy to be here man happy to be here i know i feel like we’re kindred spirits i was telling you before we recorded i felt like our stories are very similar in so many ways except i went to jail and got caught and you got arrested and kind of just kept going and i know for you you’ve alluded to the fact that you had like many rock bottom moments i don’t know if it was driving your car off a cliff getting busted multiple times with drugs smoking crack when you were trying you’re supposed to be caring for your sick grandpa or whether it was friends dying but i think like one of the main rock bottom moments where your life completely changed was was june 18 2010 where an unsung hero kind of gave you this choice where essentially you could have gone to jail and for the five years you were backing up but this person decided to give you give you a shot and before we get into that because i do want to to know why you didn’t roll the dice and pick the other option how did you get to that place where you’re selling copious amounts of heroin you’re massively addicted to drugs you’re 300 pounds your life’s a mess you’re completely broken in every single way i mean people always people always look at uh at people that are in bad places in life like they just ended up there you know what i’m saying like oh my god like this homeless person you know or or this person who’s addicted to drugs like they they just you know it’s like it happened last.

   Night it all is just a uh uh um a uh avalanche it’s.

   Not avalanche but it’s like a it’s like a a rolling snowball of [ __ ] you know and i started i started just like a lot of other people smoking weed you know when i was 15 16 years old and you know moved into selling weed to support that habit and um you know i mean you you you read the book so you know how kind i ended up um moving into.

   Narcotics but but when i was when i was 16 years old i had a really bad uh injury in vermont i broke my femur skiing and that was the first time i was ever given a oxycontin and you said your foot was like.

   Next to your head right or something yeah yeah i really i i broke my femur in half the biggest the biggest bone in in your body um broke my broke my leg in half my foot was right here i woke up blood uh surrounded by blood on the icy slopes of killington mountain for anybody that’s from the east coast uh one of the one of the iciest places on the earth there’s.

   No powder it’s just like skiing on concrete basically and um when i was at university of vermont they gave me my first ever oxycontin and it was a 40 milligram uh we used to call them peaches back in the day right yeah and um uh that was kind of what gave me my first taste of what it was like to.

   Not care about anything and to be able to feel a dopamine rush that was so strong that it could overtake any kind of uh depression or anxiety or traumatic experience that i that i generally had been used to feeling right and uh it was a taste and i was so young that i obviously didn’t see them again uh for quite some time after that but then when i was 17 years old um this was by the way just to give some context in uh 2000 in the early 2000s so call it 2002 maybe um during a time which i would call you know the beginning of the epidemic you know the the true uh start of what would be a uh one of the worst epidemics in the history of the country that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives um and has evolved into a a catastrophe an absolute an absolute you know human rights issue right human issue um and in in early in 2002 oxycontin took over um a lot of states like mine in connecticut like a like a tidal wave and by the time i graduated high school i would say a a a pretty decent majority of my um sorry a pretty decent percentage of my graduating class in milford connecticut was addicted to uh was addicted oxycontin and so that was kind of what got me started on that on that train and uh once that started it was there there was.

   No slowing down yeah and it’s interesting because i think you kind of had you had your hand in two different buckets of the the addiction cycle if you will like there’s a lot of people that get prescribed painkillers and they become addicted and then there’s a lot of people like this for me where i had so much pain and trauma insecurities anxiety and fear that i just got a taste of a painkiller and i was like wow i don’t have to feel these feelings anymore i don’t have to have these fears i feel this monkey come off my back i can finally be myself and i feel like you had you had both you had the surgery but i felt like you had some some pain early on i know you were trying to fit in i know your parents got divorced you changed schools which was really hard for you into a private school and then you all of a sudden go to this public school it’s a little bit rowdier there was a lot more trouble there so talk about about that experience for you like what you were feeling what did the divorce kind of indirectly give you anxiety did you have this this sense of what’s wrong with me like why is this happening to me at that time yeah i think a mixture of that i think uh in in my situation the divorce happened at a time and i’m you know i’m sure a lot of people can relate to this but the divorce happened at a time when i.

   Needed uh structure and discipline the most right and so uh that that time right around a 15 year old boy’s life when he really.

   Needs his dad to be there and say yo like this is.

   Not what you’re supposed to be [ __ ] doing and by the way.

   Not even that.

   Not what you’re.

   Not supposed to be doing you’re.

   Not [ __ ] doing this in my house i will.

   Not do this in my house and uh when my parents split uh and he he was um he was still in the picture but he wasn’t he wasn’t intimately in the picture he wasn’t there every day and every.

   Night right um and so i think that that was a a trauma that you know the divorce when i look back at my story i generally don’t even i don’t even mention the divorce because whereas other people would look at the their parents splitting as this massive obstacle in their life and something that a trauma that they still have to deal with for me i mean [ __ ] when i look look at my list going back the divorce was uh you know at least i had believed it to be for a long time a cakewalk comparatively to the other things that i [ __ ] dealt with and seen right i think it was definitely a stepping stone like i think originally at that moment in your life i mean again i’m.

   Not you but i just look i’m just putting myself in your shoes i’m sure if you were to look at something and say okay like what was the pain what was the anxiety what was the fear coming from and a lot of it i’m sure at that time like you.

   Needed a role model like you said you.

   Needed structure and i felt like because you didn’t have that at home you found it in other places that’s why you sold drugs to control a situation have some sense of structure power a community of people that you can lean on and count on yeah and i mean i also think that um the the link between mental health and mental illness and and substance abuse for for us you know that have been through it we we know that link very well but it’s it’s still a very heavily discounted scenario that link is just so tight and and also also from a propensity to um to become addicted i i mean i think genetic the addiction on how it works genetically is something that people downplay and i do have a history in my family and so i kind of i kind of got a all of the all of the.

   Necessary you know buckets filled and so by the time i um was reintroduced to oxycontin recreationally during this absolute uh tidal wave of of purdue pharma driven oxycontin which was one of the most corrupt marketing uh situations that has ever touched this country billions of dollars in revenue um it was it was off to the races for me and there was.

   No way to slow it down yeah 100 agree with you because i do and i’ve heard you say this it’s like you know i think there is some sense of choice when it comes to addictions in the sense that you have to sometimes you have to make that choice to stop at some point like you’re.

   Not going to stop using drugs unless you make a choice but i think there’s also the conversation.

   Needs to be had that there’s a lot of it that’s out of the con out of our control different situations different traumas our environment sometimes can contribute to it and we don’t even know it you know it’s almost happens on a subconscious level and i think with with purdue and the oxies like i’m right there with you like i remember when i took my first painkiller i mean i knew i wasn’t putting spinach in my system but i had.

   No idea that they were going to be that addictive and.

   Not just that addictive mic but that fast i mean you know how it is you start with five milligrams and it’s all 10 20 then two weeks later you’re doing a couple hundred milligrams a day and it’s yeah i don’t think uh i don’t think any of us are ready for it i i talk about oxygen in a weird way when when um when our parents were coming up they came up on quaaludes they came upon vicodin percocet five milligrams here five milligrams there and then they they want to look back and say how how the [ __ ] did you end up going from pills to heroin right yeah and what what they don’t what they’re missing and what people don’t understand about oxycontin is it the one thing more than anything else that it was was the bridge yeah the bridge from recreational drugs to hardcore addictive uh substances right and so because of how much power and.

   Narcotics you were able to pack into each one of those pills yeah and you know we talked about this for a minute prior to the call but like.

   Nowadays everybody you know uh uh that that does those kind of pills they talk about perk 30s oh i get perk 30s raucous roxies rock sets whatever and uh you know i’m gone off the perks the rappers are all talking about all the.

   New age rappers we looked at perk 30s in the early 2000s as a consolation gift like i don’t want your i don’t want blueberries i don’t want your perk 30s when we oxy80s were the strongest pills ever besides the 160s which were on the market for probably a year and everyone died and then they took them off because originally there was 160 oxycontin pill yeah i don’t i don’t i don’t remember i i know they were like uh something people talked about like i.

   Never saw them i’d only heard of them yeah like you said back when i was doing it it was oc 80 was like the holy grail there was these red 60s they kind of came out a little bit later yeah and then there was the orange 40 milligrams there was the pink 20s and then the white tens and then there was like the generic stuff which we wouldn’t want because it was filled it was filled with filler and you couldn’t snort it correct i mean if you snorted it you would end up with like almost like this oozing coming out of your.

   Nose from all the acetaminophen or whatever and and i was like you like i i was so i was almost like a snob when it came to painkillers that’s all i wanted was was 80 milligram oxies and i would do anything to get them you know i would burn people i would manipulate people i would lie i mean that was like my my full-time job as you know as we all know is how am i going to score who am i going to do it with what do i have to sell to get the money where am i going to do it what am i going to eat afterwards what songs am i going to play when i’m literally ridiculous people people.


   Never understand how addiction is it’s it’s a religion of sorts yeah what i’m saying like like dude can you imagine that why would i ever say can you imagine of course you can but like to the average person the idea of being fully invested in just one thing that is it there is.

   Nothing else on the entire planet that [ __ ] matters besides this one thing it’s mind-blowing and people aren’t able to comprehend what that looks like when you try to explain it to people that your entire goal in life is to get high is how am i gonna cover myself for tomorrow when i wake up in the morning i don’t want to be sick tomorrow what can i do and so so i think i i in a way fortunately didn’t have to go through a lot of the robbery [ __ ] a lot of the burning [ __ ] because i was a dealer and so i put all my effort into dealing and that was and it wasn’t and like i said earlier like i’ve always been entrepreneurial i’ve always been very good at building rapport i’ve always been very good at branding when i first started selling weed i was i was the guy that had the stuff that had.

   Names oh we got this [ __ ] from bc this is the jack hair this is the og whatever right i was always good at that right how can i package what’s what pricing is moving best oh if i do an eighth today will they you know will they come back for a quarter.

   Next week if i make it three six instead of three four like i was a brain when it came to selling drugs and so when it came to when it came time to switch from marijuana to.

   Narcotics it was the same it was the same thing and uh i remember you know we were we were working with these people who were writing fake scripts yeah and you know obviously how big the fake scripts were back in the day and we had this one guy who was just getting thousands and thousands of [ __ ] pills from from writing getting you know he would just buy prescription pads off of doctors he would just write fake scripts the doctor just signed all of them he ended up getting he ended up getting uh arrested by dea um but but i mean that was how i those were the two things i did what were were pick up sell all day do drugs count money and then do it again that was it it was just the same thing every single day well yeah and you were spending you know hundreds of dollars a day that was the one thing people i’m sure asked you they would ask me and others as like wow i bet you’re saving tons of money.

   No you’re you’re breaking like the first coat of the ten crack commandments and you’re getting high on your own supply everybody knows that line it’s a pretty famous line right and that you’re pretty much just selling to support your habit like you talk we talk about like you do whatever it takes literally to get high and support your habit and that was something in my experience like i was selling a ton of pot could have easily been putting away a ton of money but all of my profit went up my.

   Nose and i got involved in selling pills very similar to your story where you’d sell enough pills to make a few bucks and then get high for free and it was just it was a.

   Nightmare i mean my my addiction got so bad that i was lit i was missing essentially like half my left.

   Nostril and didn’t have a bowel movement for for a month and well you remember the first pages of my book you know yeah by the way the book we keep it’s called the fifth vital i know i’m sure you’ll mention that but we keep referencing it but i mean our overlap is crazy because i still you know have problems with my.

   Nose because of the damage i did to it through both sniffing and also digging at it with a razor blade you know yeah um it’s it’s uh the only way to explain it to someone would be war and i hate to i hate to um discount the rightful.

   Nature of actual conflict and more so the heroic um you know uh uh um you know output and service of the people that go to war for this country or for any country but it’s a battle it’s a [ __ ] battle day in and day out that that deals with uh uh factors that that are are incomprehensible and mind-blowing you know and and honestly like that was what kind of those those factors and those stories and those tales are what drove the book to where it ended up going and and originally um when when we when we started talking about publishing the book and i’d written for about seven years from about 2013 all the way through to about 2020 a little bit at a time when we first started talking about publishing it and i i self-published it but with like a boutique publishing agency they said there’s a lot of [ __ ] in this book man like there’s there’s some really really.

   Nasty stuff in this book like like like are you sure like you’re an internet personality.

   Now you’ve got millions of followers um you’re on one of the biggest podcasts in in the world um this shit’s disgusting like like are you positive that you want this stuff to go out and i thought about it for a long time and and um i ended up coming that coming to this to this kind of uh undisputable truth which is that if you cannot create rapport and relatability with the with the addicts out there or the mental illness sufferer out there or the person struggling out there you cannot then give them the hope for them to get out of it and so a lot of those stories that like i personally was very embarrassed of and very worried about were the stories that created the bond between me and the reader that eventually allowed me to give them something that made them stop doing drugs stop cutting themselves stop having uh panic attacks over the fact that their mother died of a heroin over like dude like the the the feedback that i’ve gotten and the amount of people i’ve talked to uh honestly gives me goosebumps i i i i it is it i it is the one thing where i could say i’ve finally been able to give back in a meaningful way and to to to start to write the wrongs that i’ve [ __ ] done on this planet yeah for sure and i mean you’re so lucky to be alive um for sure i mean gosh the amount of times you escape death is mind-blowing in your book i definitely encourage people to go pick up mike’s book i mean he gets into the.

   Nitty-gritty of a lot of these stories that i think you’re gonna you’re gonna get a lot of questions that you’ve had answered because i think a lot of people they wonder mike they’re like how does somebody go from growing up in like a decent family they go to school then they you know they’re just starting to smoke weed how do they end up doing heroin like what happens in between and i think most people that are dealing with opiate addiction.

   Now they’re.

   Not the people that are just experimenting with painkillers and then stop you’re hearing about people.

   Now that are just hooked on heroin they’re hooked on fence and all they’re doing whatever they they can to get that into their into their system so like what what caused you i know what caused it but if you could give the listeners just a summary of what what was it that caused you to make that switch from painkillers to heroin in i think it was like 2004 or five purdue pharma realized we are [ __ ] we are in deep deep deep they knew before that they knew before that they i mean for for people who are knowledgeable about the purdue situation once again uh the sackler family one of the most uh corrupt cover-ups and disgusting um uh marketing and business operations that have ever existed in this country billions and billions and billions of dollars off of off of uh the pain of people who were promised a way out of pain and were introduced a pain that they.

   Never could have [ __ ] understood or saw coming in the early 2000s purdue realized we’re in a lot of trouble here we have created a actual opiate epidemic in this country it is it is happening in real time and there is.

   Nothing we can do to stop it out of control they they were already federally in trouble and one of the things that one of the first things they did was started to remove oxycontin from the markets and and from the shelves of pharmacies and so you saw this mass pull back on supply of oxycontin to the country and at a time at a time when at that time we were used to getting ziploc bags i mean i would go to a pharmacy in bridgeport connecticut and get ziploc bags of oxy80s we would get them a thousand at a time and we would owe thirty thousand dollars to the whatever right would make sixty thousand but the profit you know where it went right um when they pulled back on the oxys then they tried to come out with a crushed proof oxy which that wouldn’t work right the the supply of everything was dwindling and one day i i called my friend um and i said to him hey man uh i can’t find anything the town’s dry i’m sick the girlfriend’s sick my customers are all sick we’re this is bad so you’re sick going through withdrawal right sweating [ __ ] vomiting shaking throwing up on themselves right you know the story yeah and uh he said yeah man i know um but uh i just got a little bit of d of d from bridgeport and i was like [ __ ] is he talking about right.

   Now like what are you talking about he’s like i got d dude from bridgeport and i was like dude what are you talking about what does that even mean is that like a.

   New pill or something he was like.

   No like dope dude like heroin and like it was like it was like i remember the phone call very well it was it was a very um a very memorable moment in my journey um because i i said to him to myself just mentally said did he just say heroin is that what just ha is that where we’ve gone and um slowly but surely after that point it it it became a mainstay and it became a part of our lives and and uh i speak about it in the book a little bit too the drug that the life of an addict is a life of desperation it’s.

   Not a it’s.

   Not a life of of decision making it’s.

   Not a life of saying oh this is a journey or a place i don’t want to go it’s a life of how do i make the pain stop if you have a way to make this pain stop i will take it and i don’t care what it is right and so there was a little bit of um hesitation but uh slowly but surely pretty much everyone eventually ended up doing heroin yeah and that’s generally the story right where people they can’t either afford the street value of pills because i think it’s supply and demand so if the supply is low then the demand’s high the price goes up like i think.

   Now i happen to ask some people um that i had worked with or that i was that i knew that were just early in recovery and i just was talking them i just said hey like how much is it cause we’re just talking about how they got addicted to stuff and they said same story they got into painkillers i said well how much is painkillers and they’re like it’s like almost like one to two dollars a milligram so back in the day when when mike and i were in the fix of our addiction like an 80 milligram pill i think the street value correct me if i’m wrong was like anywhere between like 40 and 60 bucks yeah yeah something like that started about 40 uh 40 45 uh as far that was probably in the very beginning days yeah uh and and there was a mass supply and then.

   Near the end when they started to reach that holy grail status i mean it was 60 i mean you had people starting to talk about 65 i didn’t see those days i had already moved on to uh um to heroin at that point but yeah i had heard them going to as high as a dollar milligram people were getting eighty dollars for oxy 80s yeah and and they became so addictive i mean they are they were just so addicted to the point where i don’t even know if i’ve told this story publicly i might have but i can’t remember where i was getting um 80 milligram pills from a guy and he had said he’s like i think these are fake he’s like i don’t know if they’re fake he’s like but if you can just have them you can buy them for me like you know penny on the dollar whatever it was like super cheap he’s like and you can just have mine i want to deal with it so i remember he gave me like i forget what it was like 1080s and i didn’t know if they were real or.

   Not i licked every time release off to see if they were real and i could tell if they were fake because if they were fake they had.

   No taste but once you got that i got i got one i remember that had this medicine medicine taste and i remember i just felt like i had won the lottery and really it was just me getting my fix to be able to get high and.

   Numb that pain because i think is addicts and i think this probably happened with you is at first when you start using drugs you’re doing it to get high and have fun and then eventually the pendulum swings and you’re doing it to.

   Numb pain.

   Numb the shame of where your life is as a result of of the drugs yeah you’re just trying to get by yeah goodbye i mean it’s it’s it it’s you talked about the the time release uh and and honestly like one of the historical and infamous tales of the oxy days um the time the removal of the time release was a was a the greatest moment of your life it was the greatest moment of your life you know and at the time and uh when we started uh it was extremely ceremonial you know and we would all get together and we would take the time releases off and we’d sit there and we’d chop an 80 up four ways and you know and and and and at first it started it was a weekend thing we would do it at parties like yo you want to try an oxy like you want to do an oxy this weekend at a party um and in the end you know you you found yourself removing you know the time seal and and wiping it on your shirt you know and and instead of being in in you know a a living room surrounded by your friends you’d be in a in a dirty bathroom you know crushing an oxy up on the back of a toilet uh using a using a a rolled up business card to sniff it because you had.

   No dollars left you didn’t even have any money to sniff it with you know and so the the um i think the the story of an addict or the story of someone who uses drugs um generally follows that trajectory it starts in this very luxurious format or ceremonial format and then over the course of time devolves into um desperation and into um a filthy disgusting ravaging disaster that is all-encompassing and destroying you know and um that happens with any drug i mean i mean it happens you see it with people with cocaine even you know which which people consider to be a highly addictive substance for people like me and you who for people you know like for myself someone who smoked crack for some time i know what an actually addictive substance is you know like very and of course cocaine is is highly addictive and crack is cocaine so i’m simply saying it always follows that trajectory there’s.

   No one that was ever like oh i you know i started using drugs uh in my dorm room at college you know and in a community college and by the time i was done i was smoking crack in a bugatti you know what i’m saying like it’s.

   Not that’s.

   Not the trajectory of drug use right it is you are.

   Not smarter stronger faster better or wiser than the drugs you’re just.

   Not you don’t have them figured out you don’t have a way to do them recreationally you don’t it does you know this and we talk about this all the time and you know whether it’s in the program or just conversation with other addicts like you’re.

   Not you’re.

   Not you’re.

   Not faster they’re better than you and they’ll get you you know so it’s um that that story is is about as well known as as as annie in the addiction field yeah and i think it’s important for people because i have a lot of parents that listen to this too to hear this this is why i wanted you to tell your story like this is like this is how it starts it doesn’t just start with someone just going out and and putting a.

   Needle in their arm or someone just doing heroin or even oxies there’s something that transpires before that and there’s these dominoes that just start to fall into place one by one one domino the.

   Next domino and so on and so forth and i know for you like i think the fire like was lit a little bit when you started smoking and dealing pot then it lit a little bit more when you were doing oxy then when you started doing heroin i feel like you just took gasoline and just dumped it on the fire and just like whoa am i right yeah yeah i mean i think i think i think just oxy like oxygen heroin they could all be combined yeah so i mean just the just opiates in general were my thing and i mean it was i also was on methadone for six years you know what i’m saying and um that was just another layer of of of opiate addiction you know and and um it’s just it’s it’s just hard to put into words how how tight those handcuffs are and how how it’s able to just destroy the lives of such good people you know and and that’s that’s the biggest thing that i wanted to convey in my book because we’ll talk a lot today about about downfall when ironically my cl my crawl out is the is the part of the story that really touches people and really motivates right and and the downfall is was a.

   Necessary part but like earlier if i didn’t describe the downfall in vivid detail the success the followers the money all of that [ __ ] wouldn’t matter i don’t want to hear that there’s a ton of successful people on this planet yeah a ton of successful people on this planet there’s.

   Not a ton of people who are willing to talk about being a one foot in the coffin after a decade addiction to heroin and crack cocaine and methadone and xanax prescription and alcohol and whatever else and then and then the trajectory back out because that’s the story that i want to be taken away from it that.

   No matter what your circumstances.

   No matter where you are in life that.

   Not only can you get back to a baseline because that was all i ever really wanted i used to look at these people who had a.

   New camry and a a a little dog in their yard at a 150 000 house in connecticut and i said if i ever get that back i will be the most blessed person on this [ __ ] planet dude.

   Not only can you have that.

   Not only can you have a mortgage can you have a family can you have all those things that are beautiful and they’re right you could have everything you could have everything it doesn’t matter if you’re 30 right.

   Now it doesn’t matter if you’re 40 right.

   Now it doesn’t matter if you’re 60 if you’re an addict or or an alcoholic or someone suffering from mental illness once you get healthy it could you can have everything.

   Not just some of it but you have to start with that one thing you have to get clean you have to get healthy you have to get your mind in in check and however you do that and and i talk about that a lot in the book too and you know and we’ll get into i’m sure but just like coping mechanisms yeah yeah tactics for success how are you gonna get mentally healthy so i just i just always wanted to i just always wanted to give people hope that’s it and and that’s it yeah and and you are and i think you know it’s interesting like you know for a good part of your life you’re selling drugs to help to help people in a way you thought you were helping people you thought you were the doctor if you will and.

   Now you’re selling hope to help people in a way that’s actually positive healthy conducive to improving the the way that people live and you know after heroin it seems like you know life really started to fall apart fast for you went and lived with a with a dealer out were you in.

   New haven or bridgeport sport at the time bridgeport first yeah yeah and then you end up selling for him he gets into some trouble with his connection owes him a bunch of money the guy comes in pistol whips him blood all over the floor you pretty much stop this person from killing this guy meanwhile after this you would think that would stop things you end up getting arrested multiple times you should have gone to jail really because you were busted with heroin once right twice yeah and then you’re on you’re backing up five years and then you got pulled over again and then they searched you and somehow didn’t find that was the scariest moment and i i cuz like you said there’s a lot of rock bottoms yeah there was a lot of um there was a lot of like oh [ __ ] moments yeah and and obviously right and i and i mean even greater than that monumental oh [ __ ] moments and from driving cars off cliffs like you said and into riverbeds and waking up to you know broken femurs fractual fractured skulls um knives guns uh shootings at anything you could imagine like all that stuff was oh [ __ ] obviously but.

   Nothing i don’t i don’t i just don’t think there was anything as scary as that moment i could still feel that fear and i i so just give some context at the time i probably had reached just about the height of my heroin uh dealing days um i was i was picking up uh rock heroin they call it they call them fingers and so it’s a it’s uh 10 it’s about 10 grams of rock heroin and so basically you’re picking up enough weight in heroin that it’s.

   Not even powder formed yet it’s coming from god knows the cartels whatever it you’ve reached it at pretty much the distribution standpoint from a distribution point and you’re buying it in in pretty heavy weights right and so i would go to.

   New haven this was after bridgeport toppled the dea completely shut down that that operation uh my d my connected.

   Nine years uh as a result of that dea raid it was a simultaneous raid with dea atf there was guns involved there was a disaster um i was i was picking up in.

   New haven uh and i was i would take it back and you know i i had i was at a point where i had like write-off like.

   Not write-offs but i had business expenses i knew there was a hotel room that.

   Needed to be purchased just to break this [ __ ] down and so i would and i was by myself i would at this point i was i didn’t have anyone with me it was just me and so i’m going to the projects in.

   New haven i would drive this [ __ ] back to a hotel room and i would spend three hours um pulse grinding with a coffee gr uh bean grinder this heroin into powder.

   Never cut it i.

   Never cut my product i sold it completely i got it and uh i would i would take a straw and i would d i would cut the top half of the straw off and i would make this little scooper and i knew exactly how much would be the right amount per bag don’t just sit there and bag up bag up bag up bag of heroin for hours and listen to music do a line you know do another line do a couple more lines right and just sit there and get [ __ ] up and bag up by myself so one day i was i i had just finished up the hotel and i was on uh at the time i was already a convicted felon i had a five-year suspended sentence uh that i had was maybe i was down to like four years at that well i guess it hangs over so i had a five year suspended sentence i had maybe four years left of probation and um i was i had gotten into my car i had a jeep at the time and i was driving the product from.

   New haven to milford bridgeport where i was going to start unloading it right i had dozens of people waiting for it um and i had about 300 i would say about 360 bags of heroin on me so about 36 bundles completely wrapped up stamped everything right and i was driving uh through east haven um suspended license the whole.

   Nine you know completely dirty and i get pulled over by the cops and they come up to the window and they go uh mike what’s going on and that’s how it was in a lot of cities it wasn’t it wasn’t you know like license and registration was hey mike what’s what do you what are you up to today you know and i was like oh i just left my uh my girlfriend’s house you know i’m just driving back to my to my grandma’s because i was living with my girl like staying or seeing my grandma last day with my grandma at the time uh and they were like yeah sure um why don’t you give us a license registration let’s check everything out you know all right sure here you go there’s a license registration at that point i’m like dude it’s over it’s over been a fantastic run it’s been a ton of fun.

   No it hasn’t but it’s over right um they go back to the car they come back and they go you know your license is suspended right and i was like oh man i didn’t know that i must have missed the letter from the courts right so you go all right step out of the car um and uh put your hands against car just put my hands against car and he starts doing the classic pat down started high shoulders blah blah down the shirt yeah you got any weapons or anything sharp that’s gonna poke me on you.

   No officer i don’t in my mind i knew i had 36 bottles of heroin in my in my cargo pocket because cargo shorts were still a thing because i’m a dinosaur it was the early 2000s or mid mid 2000s and he’s patting down patting down patting down patting down and my knees are [ __ ] i’m shaking v actually shaking waiting for the second where his hand finally gets to the cargo pocket because my life is over and i know that i’ve already mentally started to accept the fact that i am going to jail for at least 20 years i’ve already started to [ __ ] accept that okay and he’s patting down pat down patent down and gets to the cargo pocket and cargo pockets always had this weird thing where it you couldn’t really tell if there was something in it or if it was just the cargo pocket because and it was those kind of shorts it wasn’t a tight cargo pie it had a little bit of bulk there and for whatever reason he gets the fabric and keeps going down my leg you can go sit on the curb we’re gonna search the car i know i didn’t have anything in the car cash cash i had cash on the card i go sit on the curb i’m literally shake like like did that really just happen yeah because it’s a prank yeah this is a prank and i’m.

   Not out of the situation yeah obviously all right right right right there’s two of them and they find like i don’t know maybe like five g’s five or six g’s in the um five grand yeah right in the in the middle compartment and they come up to and they go what what is this why there’s so much cash and i’m like uh i think my answer was awful i think i said they do odd jobs for my grandmother around the house the [ __ ] you talking about.


   No drugs though just the cash so i was and obviously at that point like if they if it was a shakedown and they were gonna take the cash i would then like take the [ __ ] cash right right right right uh cop comes back up to me goes.

   Nothing in the car um but you can’t drive the car man you got it you got to call somebody to come pick you up and i was like oh because the registration was suspended right like my license oh your license is spent yeah and you know we’re giving you a ticket to summons right and i’m sitting there and i’m like.


   No problem whatever you want called my dad like this was a situation where you call your dad like because you.

   Need whoever like my dad was that one person i could always call dad i.

   Need you to get to this parking lot in east staten connecticut and he lived in brantford which is right.

   Next door in as fast i don’t care if you have to take a spaceship here dude i.

   Need you here as fast as humanly possible right he was there and like he was there in like five minutes i got in his car and left and have and and i don’t know if i ever recovered from that fear to this day like still yeah yeah scariest moment of my entire life and so you don’t stop there you would think that you know you would say okay like gosh that was a sign from god the universe whatever that maybe maybe he’s like dude just stop i have bigger plans for you just change your life.

   Now go to rehab go to treatment whatever it was but you kept going you end up you know developing an addiction to crack you end up your your grandfather who is a very important to you in your life and was important in your mom’s life becomes very sick and there was a moment where you’re over um you know his house i think taking care of him or your mom’s house taking care of your grandpa and he was like screaming for help and you’re like getting high upstairs right and just that was like a pivotal i think one of the breaking one of the last breaking points i think for you where i think you would just realize that your life was in such shambles that i think you were just paralyzed by fear you didn’t know what to do you wanted i think to change but you just couldn’t figure out a way how are you or the pain hadn’t become great enough i think in those moments where you were forced to make a decision to improve yourself until somebody made that decision for you and i remember that you end up violating your pro almost violating your probation i guess technically you did but i guess technically you didn’t because you had this person that gave you this miraculous second chance so talk about that moment it was june 18 2010 and it was something that completely changed your life it was actually i think it was the one person that stopped giving me second chances yeah yeah yeah well she gave you a second chance in the sense that she could have easily violated you and just sent you and at the time and at the time i didn’t understand i actually watched this video on tick tock yesterday which is my least favorite social media platform because it’s just the most childish place and you know i don’t go on much but watch this video yesterday from this guy who explained the.

   Nature of the word maybe and um it was the story about and i’ll give you the short version but one day uh this this rancher’s uh horse runs away and everybody from town comes and they say oh my god like that’s so so that’s terrible that your horse ran away and he said uh maybe and the.

   Next day the horse came back with seven other horses with it and they came and they said oh that’s uh that’s uh so fantastic like you you know you got seven free horses out of the deal and he said maybe and the.

   Next day his son was trying to ride one of the wild horses they fell off and he broke his arm all the people from the town said that’s so terrible that your son broke his arm we’re so sorry it’s terrible and he said maybe and then the.

   Next day or week later or whatever the arm the the draft started and because his son had [ __ ] up his arm he wasn’t able to go to war and that cycle goes on you know and it’s very much how life is and i think that people who go through struggle and trauma don’t understand how good that is going to be for them in the end and what that is going gonna do for their lives like it is what built me it is what made me who i am i would.

   Not trade it for the world and so did you have that mindset though when you were in the thick of it or did you did you know you’re gonna get out of it or you’re like you know i’m going to die or i’m going to rot in jail yeah i think i think uh and and i want to get back to sorry i was but but i’ll say this to that um my biggest thing in the book is about this light that we all have in us right and at times in your life that light is a luminescent and shines like the sun and everything is is wonderful and you feel it on you you feel it in you and on you and around you and there are other times in this life where that light is so dim so flickering and and hard to find where where all hope is lost and you couldn’t imagine that there’s any way out of that scenario and i would say that for the majority of my addiction i was in the latter frame of mind the thing that got me out was that i.

   Never let that light go out completely and that’s the reoccurring theme of this of the book and of my journey don’t let your light go out do.

   Not let that light go out completely do whatever it takes to believe in yourself to i mean [ __ ] i i say it figuratively but i meant it literally for myself when you can’t walk crawl drag yourself through the [ __ ] mud because what’s on the other side of today or tomorrow or.

   Next week is that light coming back brighter than you could ever imagine it and and people.

   Need to know that they.

   Need to understand that.

   No matter how they feel today or how they feel this week they’re.

   Not gonna feel like that forever and things will get better if they keep going and and that was the that was the most important thing for me and so i was able to keep that light going right even at its dimmest when when uh my probation officer so so what happened with the probation officer was this i had been through a slew of probation officers and i was on the methadone clinic and so they they technically look at the methadone clinic as a medical setting you’re working on yourself you’re doing the best you can so even if i was popping dirty on urines they knew that i was under state or at least they thought that i was under some level of medical care so they’re like okay he’s already working with doctors he’s already working on this so even though i gave i mean i would say dozens of dirty urines to the probation office in their eyes i was satisfying the requirements of the court which was to work on getting better and to solving the problem so i had all these different probation officers and one day my probation officer was was leaving he was getting reassigned to a different office and so they said um you’re gonna have a.

   New probation officer her.

   Name’s ellen ferrari uh milford probation shout out milford connecticut uh and she’s gonna be your.

   New probation officer and i was like a chick this is great like this is i mean she’s probably gonna be so.

   Nice she’s gonna be like a you know like a friend to me she’ll probably get let me off even easier how can i manipulate this woman.

   Now because that’s what we do right as addicts we’re better than anybody right right right and so i go in there ellen good to meet you uh really happy that you can join me on this leg of my journey and you know as i continue to work to get better you know we’re like politicians meanwhile i was just waiting to get out of that office so i can go sniff [ __ ] xanax and crap do you know what i’m saying and um she goes you know i mean she i think she saw through it immediately but she said uh good to meet you um you know hopefully um we can we can get you back to a good place in your life before we go too far though can you just take this cup and just go into the into the bathroom just peeing it for me absolutely ellen.

   No problem and i went into the bathroom and i peed in the cup and put it into the little thing in the wall and the guy came and got it blah blah and uh i went back in the office and i was like oh all right you know i would treat them like my therapist like oh this week you know this happened she was like hey uh actually um i have another client coming in so you’re gonna you’ll have to leave but i’ll give you a call tomorrow and let you know you know what the.

   Next steps are and so uh she called me back the.

   Next day and she said hey mike um you know how are you i’m just calling to check in and let you know that your urine came back uh positive for opiates benzodiazepines cocaine uh maybe something else um and uh and and i said.

   No that’s that’s.

   Not possible that’s.

   Not possible i i haven’t used in uh 10 days there’s.

   No way those were in my system i i’ll come back i’ll pee again mike like stop.

   No you’re.

   Not gonna tell me that i had dr mike here’s how this is gonna work tomorrow morning you’re either going to go into a detox followed by a intensive re inpatient rehab facility or you’re going to do your five-year suspended sentence in jail.

   No this is ridiculous you’re.

   Not gonna tell me i have to make a [ __ ] choice right.

   Now 10 30 a.m tomorrow i.

   Need to know what you want to do hangs up the phone i’m like what the [ __ ] just happened what just happened like is she serious right.

   Now she was dead serious so the.

   Next day i checked into detox june 23rd june 22nd or june 23rd 2010 and then.

   Never use drugs ever again wow yeah and so you are a miracle and you’re one of the the few i think where you go into treatment you go into a detox for a few days and then you don’t touch it again because that was your first time you had really been stopped completely so what do you think it was like during the early stages that like what kept you in recovery what kept you clean because i think that’s like the hardest thing is like people are.

   Now having to learn to cope with stress cope with anxiety reattach behavior to emotions or learning how to deal with their demons like how did you get through that for some reason.


   Not for some reason are you just scared of going to jail like why did you roll the dice.

   No my.

   No i was.

   Never scared of anything i fear fear has been an absent emotion in my life for a long time unless it’s fear over dumb doesn’t make any sense and yeah you know what i’m saying like the worry [ __ ] yeah but i’m.

   Not a fearful guy for the most part um it was.

   Not fear that that had already left it was um i wanted more for myself i really did and and and i knew i knew i i had something right i knew i had something to offer and we all have something to offer and and one of the biggest challenges is finding out what that is right but i found a i right off the bat when i got out of rehab so i was in so i was in detox for five days and then went to rehab for another 35 i got kicked out of rehab for fighting but i technically had uh successfully completed the time there so they gave me a successful completion which was good for probation whatever um but when i when i when i got out i felt like uh in rehab i had a lot of time to reflect and i spent a lot of time by myself in this in this uh they called it the meditation room but i would listen to music i listened to zeppelin and i would listen to pink floyd and a lot of stuff that i like to listen to at the time and i journaled and i set up a bucket list for myself um you know ski jackson hole visit california like think things like that you know that that i thought would.

   Never happen right so so i spent a lot of time reflecting i set up this bucket list for myself that that had all these at the time seemingly impossible tasks on it and i i i like found a lot of like um i found a lot of like serenity and and peace in finally being out of that life you know what i’m saying and yeah after after like the torture and the and the battle and the war that that was for so long there was just something just so [Music] um about rejoining life at that level i i i don’t know it was it was a calm that i hadn’t felt in so long but i very quickly and and this is you know i i’m a big i’m a big guy on um tactics as opposed to just you know open conversation about stuff i i don’t consider myself in any way shape or form whatsoever to be a role model all i all i like to do and because i have a ton of fault still and do a lot of things that i highly uh do.

   Not recommend the attic or or you know person in recovery to do all i can do is is talk about and offer the things that helped me in a meaningful way other than that like please do.

   Not look at me as some sort of poster child or even remotely close of successful recovery because i haven’t completed any of the [ __ ] steps well maybe a couple of them but you know i still have multiple addictions to things that are.

   Not good and you know whatever right but the things that worked for me are applicable and will work for other people who have a burning desire to be the fully and complete recovered person right one of the first things i fell in love with when i got out of rehab was cycling and so currently and and i have been working on a a foundation called mike’s bikes and and i’m working with a um with a with a foundation that that helps people create.

   Nonprofits called uh think kindness i believe.


   Now i can’t even freaking remember the.

   Name all over the place uh but but i i’d like to start giving bikes to people that are fresh in recovery and i’ll tell you why so when i first got clean and first got out of rehab uh i got this hand-me-down bike.

   Now one of one of the other parts of the story that gets overlooked because of all the other stuff is that when i got out of rehab i was close to 300 pounds about a hundred pounds of pure fat i mean i was eating so much fast food doing so much xanax even though i was smoking crack it wasn’t even hitting it was.

   Nothing it wasn’t doing anything like i was eating four meals a day and just straight [ __ ] so when i got a rehab i think i was like 290.

   battered i mean teeth almost all my teeth got like in the back of my mouth gone uh just absolutely [ __ ] fried right and i.

   Needed to get around i.

   Needed to get to meetings because i wanted to do my 90-90 which i did and my mom gave me this hand-me-down giant bicycle that was the brand it was a red giant bicycle and i would ride this thing and i would ride to meetings and i would ride around and and as i was as i was doing tasks on it i quickly realized wow i really like riding this bike i would put i would listen to mac miller which which you know his death as you read in the book for me was horrible and and and it was tragically hard for me to to see him perish from the things that he helped save me from um and i would ride around and listen to mac miller on the bike and i would and i would just ride around and it was incredibly freeing and um being in motion again moving my legs getting in shape because you were an athlete as a kid correct and so one of the first things that i found in my early recovery was okay there’s going to be things like this that make you want to stay clean they make they and by the way like.

   Not to mention the.

   Natural dopamine and or serotonin dump that exercise gives you it’s it’s a it’s a feel-good activity as much as drugs are and so and so i started to identify these positive pursuits very early in my recovery and i i attribute them to.

   Not only keeping me off drugs post uh getting clean but.

   Not killing myself to be honest with you i mean i mean i could.

   Not even begin to make people understand the importance of positive coping tactics it’s everything it’s everything and i i would i would imagine that you know you had such low self-esteem at that point because i’m sure once you had the drugs all out of your system like everything kind of came full circle and all the choices all the things you saw during your addiction you’re like wow i have.

   Nothing to run from it’s all here in front of me how am i going to deal with this plus you were you know close to 300 pounds so.

   Now you’re probably i’m sure unhappy with the way you looked you probably just weren’t moving well and you had a bum ankle right because from that i think you what you stepped in a pothole or something and destroyed your ankle as a rod well it’s a robbery it’s uh yeah we’ll try to people try to rob me and the ankle can is the one thing that continues and is the one thing that continues to cause me trouble and i’m actually going to have to have fusion on it soon but um yeah i i i kind of infamously talked about this on an episode of repulsive uh when i did my episode when i got out of rehab i had a 400 credit score score my car had been repossessed i was 100 pounds overweight i had.

   No friends.

   No family you know my family was there but i had severed the bonds right and i was starting at.

   Nothing i was starting a.

   Negative i mean was so far down and and for somebody that was early in recovery that was one of the toughest pills i had to swallow when i when i came back out and realized what a decade of addiction and and more importantly a decade of.

   Non-development and personal growth looks like on the back end and and it was one of the it was one of the tougher pills i had to swallow as i looked around me and you know the kids i graduated high school with were married and had mortgages and 401ks and um all these things that i you know saw as these signals of success in life and it it was a very painful blow to me to realize how how out of reach that all seemed um and and i i guess like i just started to identify these these positive movements right and and it’s almost like almost liking it to being a baby again you know in a lot of ways and and you you you you realize how far behind you are but what you really.

   Need to realize is is how far how much space you can cover in a hurry if you stay clean yeah and i mean i mean damn dude it was it was.

   Not that long before i was sitting in in board meetings with with millionaires you know i mean.

   Not that like it was you make if you stay clean and you make a few positive moves in your life you can escape that early recovery dread a lot faster than you think you can yeah and i think for you you get out you start cycling riding a bike you drop some weight you start to get into shape that builds confidence in itself.

   Now you’re feeling better.

   Not only because you’re.

   Not using drugs but you’re feeling better because the endorphin rush the way you look you’re like wow i’m actually taking care of myself you’re feeling like you quote unquote old you a little bit and then you start getting these these little jobs right i think you were you’re a dog walker you were like a dog daycare counselor where you had like 30 dogs you were a journalist you were a wedding photographer you were doing all these things and then all of a sudden another turning point for you was you see this ad on craigslist for.

   Now this big company that we all know i was actually looking at buying one of these a few years ago um lovesack and you end up applying for this job which i think in that in that moment you had.

   No quote unquote real credibility as far as getting that but walk the audience through like what happened there how you got that job because it’s it’s a pivotal point and i think it’s also just shows how you just got to put yourself out there and then once and it’s like it’s sometimes it’s personality over credentials like you can have all the credentials in the world but if you’re.

   Not relatable if you don’t put your if you’re.

   Not a hard worker if you don’t care it doesn’t matter yeah i was selling it man i was hard i was i was a classic fake until you make a story and listen like us addicts dude man we all got something if you i i and like this is the biggest thing i ever said if you’re out there right.

   Now you’re listening to this podcast and you have survived addiction and you have survived mental illness and you have been through the [ __ ] ringer and you have woken up today and you’re still going you have something you have something dude you may.

   Not know exactly what it is but you have something there’s something there and and and that is one of the mo that was one of the most important things that i really realized when i started to see people react to me and and absorb me when i started to get in better shape and started to act better and stuff like that we all have something we are warriors we’re soldiers and we and we and you.

   Need to embrace that right and so the the issue is just simply finding out what that is right and so what the advice i give the audience and the people when i speak on you know at these speaking things or anything like that is start trying stuff if you can if you can simply find something that you enjoy doing find a way to get semi good at it i assure you there’s a way to monetize that activity okay and so when i so i was i was riding my bike all the time i’d started to get in shape and i i wanted to start taking photos because i was like i had already started taking photos of my phone you know i got a phone and started that addiction obviously which is a whole.

   New addition that everybody has to deal with right and i started taking pictures of food and random stuff i’m like and people would say yo you’re you actually take decent photos like you know and i i started like this like little you know food thing whatever and i was like maybe i could take this more seriously so i so i uh i i don’t remember how i was getting the money at the time i was oh i was i was taking care of my grandfather i was taking care of my grandfather uh this so it was after i got cleaned but before he passed and um i saved up enough money this was working with the dogs right and got in that job with my my sister got me that job all on that whole story but i i saved up enough money to buy a camera because i like taking pictures and so i would go down to the duck pond and i would take pictures of stuff i would take random pictures and one day i was taking pictures and um someone came up to me or like messaged me on facebook about the pictures or something and said hey i have a wedding coming up do you do wedding photography i said absolutely i do wedding photography i’m i you know one of the one of the better uh wedding photographer i’d.

   Never even been to a wedding i had.

   Never been to a wedding before of course i do wedding photography oh what’s your rate uh what’s your budget yeah she told me her budget and i said perfect i’ll be there i showed up with an oxford button down on and and took the photos and they were.

   Not that great but for her budget they were acceptable and so i took that money and a little bit more cash and i was like what can i what else do i like doing so i really like taking pictures and i said i started seeing these drones fly around everywhere i’d go i’d see this dgi phantom one drone and kids were playing with them and taking pictures of soccer games and [ __ ] and so i saved up the the two g’s or whatever it was to get this dji phantom drone and one day i was flying the drone back i think i was at the beach.

   Now in milford and a woman came up to me and goes that that thing’s crazy i have this is gonna sound strange but i have a wedding coming up would you be able to fly that thing at the wedding and take video with it and i said it’s funny you say that i’m one of the biggest uh aerial wedding cinematographers in the state of connecticut and she said well how much does it cost me to say what’s your business 2500 bucks later i’m at the wedding fly i was one of the probably one of the first people to fly a drone over a wedding so followed the bride and groom down the aisle it was the footage was awful but it was good enough for the budget right what i’m getting at here is find what you like doing and and people will gravitate to it if you create any kind of decent product and so before you knew it i had this photography and videography uh uh um skill set starting to be applied i had this writing i i was doing writing for aol and taking pictures for for aol because they had seen my photography online and then one day as you said i saw this this ad in craigslist you know uh replied the email and then he called sean.

   Nelson ceo of lovesack uh one of my biggest mentors in life uh and one of the guys that really you know catapulted me and put me into the into the onto the scene called me and said you know like i’m looking for a guy to help me run my social media and handle pr and of course here’s me oh one of my main skill sets is you know pr for big brands and you know i’m on google looking up like what is oh where brand awareness what does that mean like i’m a huge driver of brand awareness and know all about that stuff and uh it was enough to get a sit down with him and um i was on board to be his personal social and pr guy uh you know a couple weeks later and then about a year after that i was brought on full time at the brand uh because of the work that i was able to do and was responsible for driving pretty much the entire uh love saks social media and influencer engine prior to a 200 million dollar uh ipo on.

   Nasdaq and uh the rest is kind of history matt met logan paul through that lovesack job uh for marketing gig we quickly became really good friends and i was able to you know prove value to him really quickly and we started you know one of the biggest podcasts in the world and that’s the set i’m talking to you from so it’s it’s a weird uh it’s a weird story man it’s a very strange story and a very interesting story but it’s also a story that can be replicated by someone listening to this and that’s the most important part well it’s interesting because i think as you tell your story and it unfolds i think you’re being set up for what you’re doing.

   Now i mean you think about selling drugs like whether you like it or.

   Not to be a good drug dealer you got to be able to build rapport you got to be reliable you got to be i guess somewhat honest right you got to be able to because otherwise if you’re dishonest or if you lie you don’t show up like people aren’t going to come back to you so you have to build community right you got to get people to like you you got to kind of do whatever it takes to get things done so you have that you have the entrepreneurial spirit you get out of rehab you get on the bike you lose some weight you get some confidence and you’re like oh what can i start.

   Now i’m going to start taking photos do this do that and then you get people to like you build rapport and then you take the photos and the video all that’s like.

   Needed for lovesack you build rapport there and then logan texts you you guys have a real exchange and won’t repeat for the sake of the audience won’t repeat the exact words but it was something like he had texted you about did you say it we could say i mean go ahead go ahead go ahead so lovesack is is infamous for their washable covers and um you know it’s one of the the major tenets of of the lovesack brand and uh through an agency or something me and logan got connected and i got a text message one day that was hey uh this is logan paul the agency had told me that he was going to text me and i didn’t give a [ __ ] i did that term influencer was just becoming big and i didn’t care one bit didn’t give a [ __ ] about who he was.

   Nothing but i knew it was important to the job obviously and he uh he texted me and he was like hey man um this is logan paul i said awesome man good to meet you and he said um how did you know who he was at the time i mean at the time he was he was like a vine started he was just starting his youtube so he was still he was still he was massive already massive but i had.

   No idea who he was i didn’t know anything about that space i didn’t know anything about vine or anything like i had an instagram of course but like i didn’t get it i was like what what is this [ __ ] and but i knew he was important because the agency said so they were a big agency at the film still are and uh so i so i get the text message and uh it’s logan and i was like awesome good to meet you and he said hey uh these these covers are uh machine washable it says he was like do you think that i could have sex on and it was it was this weird moment where he was testing me he wanted to see if i was just like uh like is this a marketing guy that’s gonna try to use me is this a marketing guy that’s gonna try to get me to do a bunch of [ __ ] for his brand it’s contractual or is this somebody that i could have an open conversation with and he said uh do you think i could have sex on him and i said well actually the good thing about uh love sex the covers are machine washable so the [ __ ] would wash right out of them you just throw in the washing machine and he wrote like a million times right and from and then his whole demeanor post making that joke changed completely and immediately the first texts after that were much more fluid and open and relaxed right and so i guess and that and the rest is history i mean him you know started hanging out and have created you know immense amounts of of uh some of the most consumed content on the planet and you know interviewed mike tyson and six.

   Nine and uh russell brand and everybody under the sun and have been all over the world together and obviously the boxing.

   Now and everything um uh i think the takeaway there for the audience is like you know find whatever it is that helps you build rapport and i don’t know what that is that helps you relationship build for me it’s two things my smile which.

   Never goes away and my ability to make people laugh those are my two things i’m very i’m a super easy going person and the first thing i’m gonna do when i meet you is make you feel warm welcome and probably laugh and i i’m quite literally an expert at it i don’t always know how to explain it to people but but my ability to work a room is my big is my greatest gift right and so like if you’re listening to this and you’re trying to find out what your your thing is in terms of being able to.

   Network and build relationships you just have to figure out what that is i mean some people are really good at explaining their value very simply and quickly some people are able to some people do magic tricks you know what i’m saying like there’s a thing for everyone and you.

   Need to figure out what that is for people like for people like me luckily and i was blessed with this um there’s this like uh i do i do these things because i’m very california.

   Now and i like before the show i had an acai bowl you know and like i’m i i live here.

   Now and even though i’m from the east coast with you guys out there i’ve been californianized um and they do these things out here called like jean keys where they like i don’t know i’m giving it a southern accent but it’s about like gene keys where they try to like discover like who you are and like what like what your your um what your aura is like kind of like how to best describe it and the rarest one is called the charisma gene and that’s the one that i have which is like this this like unstoppable ability to make people feel welcome and and relaxed and comfortable and build that rapport very quickly and so i i was blessed with that um and it’s so palpable you know for me and and and it’s such a it’s honestly if you have that it’s like one of the most like monetizable skill sets and like and like genes that you could potentially have in life because you’re able to just befriend anyone at any time you know yeah i feel like you always had this sense of of of like level of love and care for other people even through your addiction there was different moments in the book where you displayed you had still had some sense of moral compass that you really you push it to the edge but there was times where you could have pushed it a little further and you did i think your moral compass kept you there and i remember you describing like one of the toughest things for you like many of us is with the relationship with your mom and i got goosebumps when you tell the story of when you were pretty much asked to leave and the tears just coming down her face and i just could tell for you that that was hard on you and i know that’s been instrumental and your recovery and your redemption story is is your mom because i think.

   No matter what there was a lot of people in your in your family in your life that kind of just just stood by you to some extent um just through the years and and i think it’s really admirable what you’ve created because then you start you start working with logan and then you know you help him build his brand and you’re you’ve been instrumental in impulsive right you guys started that show together yeah so i mean listen like logan when i when i joined logan he was already a a global superstar you know took we hung out for a couple years and i was with him from his original rise on youtube uh i was talking to him and and friends with them but i joined the team after after a very pivotal moment pivotal moment in his life which was the largest internet you know faux pas of all time which was the tokyo situation right um joined officially joined him from uh from a team standpoint from a financial and partnership standpoint uh after that happened and he was at a extremely extremely low point in his life where um he just didn’t know what he was gonna do he didn’t know what he was gonna i mean i mean it was this was one of the most full-on shutdowns of a celebrity in the history of of culture right um and and um i was able to to to join him and and and what it what it led to was i think pretty much the majority of the audience understands it but there’s a lot of people who don’t and there’s a lot of people on the internet that don’t understand a lot of [ __ ] i mean as you know i mean it’s it’s a very just you got to assume that a lot of people are.

   Not as in the know and and and uh up to speed on these intricate delicate relationships as we are um and and what what what came out of us joining each other was one of the most symbiotic relationships that i know of i mean i i came in and acted as a mentor to him acted as a person to keep him from doing any other [ __ ] up things you know and and by the way um was able to to teach him about empathy and about a lot of things that i had learned through my struggles and was able to actually help him absorb the [ __ ] that i’ve been through and then also the good stuff too the corporate stuff the stuff i learned at lovesack and in exchange he was able to he he platformed me in exchange you know in exchange he taught me about making content he taught me about um he taught me a lot he taught me a lot about a lot of things and even even life stuff he’s a vet logan paul is a very very smart uh uh all to be honest like as much as people hate you know some people hate hearing it almost genius level person i mean he was he was an ap you know physics kid and he’s very very very intelligent and understands extremely well what an audience wants to hear and and and see right and so our relationship started in in uh you know in in me trying to help him avoid further conflict and to regrow and rebuild his brand but has blossomed into a a partnership where we built also together we started impulsive in uh i believe.

   November of 2018.

   i could be wrong about that um might have been a little bit after that um and.

   Now we’ve done you know 280 episodes 290 episodes of uh you know one of the most loved uh podcasts on on the internet you know and we’ve had absolutely incredible guests uh you know and.

   Not so incredible we’ve had you know people that that cause argument had alex jones on ben shapiro uh i mean we’ve had so many guests on the show and and and movers and shakers of all you know types and sizes um and and the journey with logan has been incredible and and honestly today just us having this conversation right.

   Now um we’re in a transitional period right.

   Now for the both of us and um he is um moving down to puerto rico and uh for for various reasons that we don’t have to get too far into right but uh he is um going to continue building out logan paul into one of the biggest entertainers boxers uh people in the world and i had to make a decision over the past couple months whether or.

   Not i wanted to continue uh riding on a rocket ship that had a sole purpose of building out an individual that wasn’t me um and uh someone that like myself who’s come from a team setting their whole life and has worked towards common goals in both businesses and other uh pursuits in my life and um an entrepreneur in his own right it was it’s been a really tough decision to have to make to um to move on from the living arrangement and because i’ve you know i’ve lived with him for the past three years we’ve lived together you know and so um we’re kind of in this transitional period he just went down to puerto rico yesterday and we’ll.

   Now be staying there and i’ve already got a.

   New house with a.

   New team um the podcast will continue obviously uh but will be remote um and so it’s uh you you caught me on a very uh bittersweet and um just odd day for that for our relationship but a but but another takeaway the one thing i’ve ever found out about life is that um any time you shake the cards anytime you shake the the the field or your field of view anytime you shake things up and destroy what is rebuilt what comes after that is always either better or a lesson that leads to something better yeah any time in your life where you’re able to really shake things up and start with a.

   New something.

   New that that change leads to greatness and so i’m i’m as much as i i am saddened by you know.


   Not being the kid’s right-hand man anymore and and being with him constantly um i’m excited for the future yeah and i appreciate you sharing that and it’s just it’s definitely i’m sure bittersweet you know especially after the fight saturday.

   Night with with jake winning and then floyd mayweather i think i saw him post today on his instagram that they’re trying to.

   Nail down a a date or a location for for him and logan to fight to box but you know i think in times like this what tends to happen and um i’m sure you would agree with this is sometimes we we hit a a little bit of a low point because we’re like man like am i going to be able to reinvent myself again or am i going to be able to move on am i going to be able to become something is there going to be competition like what’s it going to be like but then you look back and you’re like look at how far i’ve come and look at all the skills that have that i have learned along the way throughout my entire life that have got me to be able to do this and i’m sure the same thing’s going to happen in like two months from.

   Now two years from.

   Now when you build your own brand so to speak you know build off of.

   Night shift and continue with impulsive and whatever else you’re gonna do and you’re like wow because of my time working with logan and everything that i learned along the way i wouldn’t have been able to do what i’m doing.

   Now without that and i think when people can find those silver linings i think that that’s how they’ll be able to have peace because i think in the moment it’s hard because i’m sure right.

   Now it’s hard you’re like as much as i’m sure right.

   Now you don’t want to get emotional i’m sure it’s an emotional time because you look at as much as you helped logan through the time where he was struggling i’m sure you’re like man this guy gave me a chance and this guy elevated me to who i am.

   Now with youtube and tick tock and instagram and lifestyle the rich and the famous and going to parties and doing all these things that you’re like man like 10 years ago i was just trying to survive and.

   Not end up back in jail totally yeah.

   No he.

   No 100 and he’ll i’ll look at him similarly to how i look at sean um from lovesack i mean i um yeah without him.

   None of it would have been possible i mean i mean luckily um i can confidently say.

   Now that i can stand on my own feet yeah for sure i i obviously have because because the thing is is aside from from seeing him once or twice a day in between his calls my calls crypto meeting whatever workouts the one thing we’ve ever done together has really over the past year and a half plus as we’ve both gotten so busy with our own pursuit has been the podcast and so as long as we’re still doing that technically wherever i live things haven’t changed all that much you know we just.

   Never we really haven’t been hanging out all that much he’s so busy and you know sometimes he’s got a girlfriend i’ve got whatever girlfriend and um you know i think it’s a proximity thing but but we’ll we’ll we’ll continue to see each other and continue to work with we’re just too close to friends to have it fall apart yeah i mean i am sure you will and i’m sure you guys will continue to build what you guys have together and then do your own thing and build off of that so one of the last questions i want to ask you is i know like in recovery especially probably.

   Now even like right.

   Now with what you’re doing what you’re going through like we all have demons right we all have things that we’re dealing with either currently or from our past or whatever like like what are some of the healthy coping mechanisms that you implement when you’re stressed when you’re anxious because i know you you said you pretty much wake up and you’re like shaking with anxiety so how do you how do you deal with it in a way that’s that’s.

   Not destructive yeah i mean i i have gone through various um various stages of mental illness you know since i was a child and they’ve manifested themselves in ways that have been um at times extremely bad you know and um you know you read the book so you know about the the moment in.

   Nantucket with my sister where i was really unsure about if i wanted to continue going on or.

   Not and this is even post post uh addiction stuff yeah in my recovery um and i still struggle quite a bit and and it’s it’s generally affected by um other factors in life and and you know like i had a really bad run this past month with covid i lost a very good friend of mine to a motorcycle accident the kid that actually uh was my first friend out of rehab uh mike crocky he was the kid that i rode bikes with he was the kid that introduced me to my first girlfriend and um horribly uh tragic motorcycle accident uh about a month ago maybe less that uh we lost mike and that was just a really that was a really tough time for me between that and kovid and um and and and a.

   Number of other things that happened all at the same time and you know how it is with life when it runs it wars and everything kind of happens at the same time um and uh you know it’s everything is about how you deal with that [ __ ] everything about how you cope with that stuff and so for me one of the one of the best things you can do is is a lot of people get worried about how to about how they’re infusing good and.

   Not worried enough about getting rid of the bad so obviously drugs is the easiest one that’s the first place our brain goes but there’s a lot of other unhealthy behaviors for me you know i’ve always.

   Noticed a spike in my anxiety after i have unprotected sex like like random little things that in everyone’s life you’ll.

   Notice spike your mental illness and that and so it could be being lethargic for some people it could be this for some people right but what you.

   Need to do is you.

   Need to start to mentally understand your program right and what are the and set boundaries and really [ __ ] stick to those boundaries right and so like what are the things that are causing mass amounts of anxiety or depression or whatever in your life a big one for me is lack of sleep if i don’t get the.

   Necessary seven hours or whatever it is of sleep i find myself at a heightened anxiety level right yeah and i when i um when i don’t exercise if i don’t get a 30 minute cardio session or 45 whatever it is right i find a heightened sense of anxiety if i eat really shitty if i find myself eating you know mcdonald’s or something like that late at.

   Night and so what you do is you try to find those boundaries and then flip them and say okay how can i structure and discipline myself around around those activities and so ever and so what’s my workout look like today because i know that when i don’t work out this happens so what does it look like what am i doing what’s my plan when am i working out what can i eat that’s extremely healthy that’s going to make me my me and my body my mind feel good like i said i had that acai bowl today i could add a burrito i coulda had a burrito this morning like there’s you know like everybody else was eating burritos we’re.

   Not everybody else mental illness sufferers and drug addicts and people in recovery aren’t everybody else we have to take certain precautions and be a little bit more cautious about what we put in our bodies yeah and so it’s it’s finding out what makes you feel good and and and getting away from what makes you feel bad and that would be you know i think i think anybody listening to this right.

   Now can go and do a a very quick five minute inventory and either in their.

   Notes app on their phone or writing it down on paper think about what makes you feel good and what makes you feel bad and just be aware of those things i love how tactical you are you know you put it so simply and i think that’s a great quality of yours is how how tactical you are with you know things that work for you things that you know don’t work for you things that’ll make you feel like crap things that’ll make you feel better you know i’m a tr i’ve been a trainer for for over 10 years so i i totally understand obviously the importance of exercise.

   Nutrition proper sleep that sort of thing um but i think you you’ve kind of hit it you’re like okay like you have to have hyper if be hyper aware know what works for you know what doesn’t know what makes you feel good know what makes you feel bad and then work off of that and so the last question i have for you is this is is there’s a lot of parents that listen to this and i would say that there’s probably parents maybe listening to this they have someone they know that someone’s struggling with addiction and so i don’t want you to maybe give advice but maybe from your experience like and you were in the thick of your addiction what would you have wanted from your your mom what would you have wanted from your dad your sisters in that moment to um to kind of help you like take that first step to get well and to make something of yourself like you said you want it man i it’s such a it’s there is such a balance between i can’t even begin to relate or understand what it must be like for these parents yeah i i honestly the this is the topic that really really hurts me and upsets me because my mom is that is such a uh painful but also amazing topic for me and and i can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to be the loved one of an addict that’s the one thing i’ll.

   Never be able to relate to or understand in life um that pain and and and they want to walk this thin line between just smothering these people with love and and and compassion and care and showing them that that that that tough love and honestly maybe i’m biased because of what ended up working for me but lately like i i guess like i’ve been leaning a little bit more towards that route of just.

   Not enabling yeah that behavior and this is such a tricky topic it’s such a trip tricky topic but like i just feel like that desperation like like the fire touching the ass of the young addict like like that first.

   Night on the streets with.

   Nowhere to live i feel like that might be enough for some and if it’s.

   Not enough it’s at least a start like that coddling mentality i think i had a lot of that through my mom and my grandmother and i think it really allowed me to keep going and i know it’s so hard to have to to have to tell your kid like i’m [ __ ] done with you because you because you are you are ruining your life and you are and you’re ruining our lives too and i cannot take this anymore right and and so i i what you’re at what you’re asking me to give advice on right.

   Now well it’s just like if you were in that moment yeah i i hear you but what you’re asking me to give advice on right.

   Now i like into string theory do you know what i’m saying or rocket science like i i can look back at my life and the choices i made and and and what addiction was like for me and how painful that was for me but it is so hard it is so hard to be a family member to be a loved one of an addict and honestly like i i there’s a there is a i put my my soul i’ve.

   Not put my soul into many things in this life i put my soul into this book it is it is my my shining achievement in life the entire book was edited and proofread by some of the best you know people in the in the in the space and and some stuff was moved around and i wrote it all but it we.

   Needed editing and proofreading the final chapter of the book is a book called after thoughts it was untouched i said.

   No one will touch this chapter of the book i do.

   Not want it proof read i do.

   Not want to edit it i do.

   Not want a single change made to this chapter of the book the last three pages of that chapter the last three pages of the book is the most impactful writing sp content i will ever produce and what that is is letters to the people who are suffering and everyone i talk to talks about these last three pages there’s a letter to the person who has.

   Never suffered through mental illness or addiction there’s a letter to the family members and there’s a letter to the person suffering and i cried my eyes out for all three of those letters the entire time i wrote it without exception and and all i can offer to the family member or to the person suffering is what i put in those pages honestly and this is.

   Not a promo i please by all means take in this episode and if you decide that this i i have.

   Not promoted or told anyone this book is a must read luckily i’ve had 50 000 buyers been able to say this is a must-read you have to read this book right but but that is all i can offer it is just such a tough answer and and at the end of the day i guess i guess what i would leave with is this if you’re a parent if you’re a loved one if your spouse it is.

   Not a shared battle this is.

   Not your battle this is.

   Not your fault this is.

   Not your mess to clean up this is.

   Not a burden for you to carry this is a personal journey that the addict must go through and decide on their own accord when they are finished when they have had enough pain and when they are ready to change their lives whatever you do couldn’t have been bet done better whatever you’ve done couldn’t have been done better so what advice do i have to someone who has either lost someone or continues to battle with someone every day keep going keep going keep doing whatever it is you’re doing that is keeping that addict alive because that is the best you could possibly do that’s it that’s all i have i can’t there’s.

   Nothing else i could say there’s.

   No other piece of advice i could give because of how challenging that scenario is besides keep going and don’t let the [ __ ] light go out love it and that’s been your motto your whole life is just keep going you will get through this you will get through this keep going keep going and i love it man i think you’re right i think there’s people listening to this they have a loved one who’s struggling that only they can do is to keep going do what they.

   Need to do to to help the addict in a way that you said like you said is.

   Not enabling it’s.

   Not it’s helpful and i would say too is to take care of themselves because we see a lot of people they become codependent and they lose themselves in hopes of just giving all their energy to their loved ones so i can’t emphasize enough to take care of yourself join a community make sure you’re exercising taking care of your mental health sleeping well all that sort of thing um so mike this has been awesome this has been one of the most like real and raw conversations i’ve had on here um and i appreciate it a lot man and i think a lot of people are going to get a ton of value out of it hopefully we were able to go down some different paths um that maybe you haven’t shared before that was just traditionally different than just then just sharing your story so i know people are going to want to follow you they’re going to want to listen to the podcast watch the podcast check you out on youtube instagram and get your book so where can people do that uh instagram hey big mike uh youtube is the.

   Night shift mike malak you just search that channel pop-up impulsive is the podcast that’s kind of our favorite place to be um and then the book i mean if you listen to this podcast and you found um it to be you know specific to your to your life then the book is called the fifth vital it’s on amazon in paperback and it’s also on audible uh i do the audiobook so if for some reason you’re an enjoyer of my voice uh it is one of the top 10 top 10 ranked audiobooks on audible um five stars across the board on both the book and the audio book so hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as uh as much as you did the show hopefully you enjoyed the show yes mike malak this has been an absolute pleasure i encourage you all to go follow him check him out get his book and be sure to take a screenshot tag him tag myself with a takeaway maybe something you learn maybe it was something he shared that maybe made you laugh about his story or just a tip he provided we once again thank you for listening to this episode of the adversity advantage

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