Many, but not all, people ruin their lives by getting involved in the wrong crowd as teenagers or young adults. I’m excited to have Mike Majlak, author of the New York Times bestseller The Fifth Vital, on the show today.
From utter failure to unstoppable success…
More than 450,000 Americans have lost their lives to opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2018; Mike, a recovering addict, could have been one of those numbers. Mike, on the other hand, was able to escape. Not only did he manage to turn his life around, but he did so in a way that has made him an inspiration to millions.
We appreciate your time and effort, Mike. Your experience has motivated me greatly.
Can you tell us the moment you recognized things had to change, before we go any further into your story?
At the height of my drug use in 2010, I had become hopelessly dependent on Oxycontin, crack cocaine, heroin, and other substances. When my mom’s dad was dying of Parkinson’s disease and dementia, she came to me because she had nowhere else to turn. After hurting my mother for so long due to my drug abuse, I agreed to do it because I wanted to make amends in any way I could. My grandpa used to be in his recliner, yelling out “Help, help, help,” until one day he found me using crack in the attic. I was too afraid to go downstairs and help him because of my paranoia. That’s when I felt the lowest, and it’s something I’ll always be sorry for. It was also a turning point when I realized I had to change directions.
Coming so far up from such a low point is nothing short of miraculous. What words of wisdom do you have for those who are currently experiencing despair, addiction, or mental illness?
To exercise self-forgiveness and patience as you attempt to overcome an addiction or mental illness, which are both conditions that require consistent, diligent effort and training like a muscle. Find out what is now weighing you down the most. If drug use is the problem, abstaining from them is the starting point. If you or someone you love is suffering from a mental health condition, the first step is to find a stable living situation.
The first order of business is to conquer your worst internal enemy.
Share more about your book “The Fifth Vital,” please. Like a movie, The Fifth Vital is riveting despite its horrific subject matter. It depicts the life of a regular American who went from using heroin to making it big in Hollywood, and serves as an introduction to the seedier side of the country’s current drug crisis and its associated street culture. But most importantly, it is a story of optimism that may inspire resilience in the face of adversity.
Is there a special reason you feel compelled to tell your tale?
It’s crucial to me that people hear that it’s possible to not just survive but thrive at the highest levels of this world no matter what kind of situation they find themselves in.
How long has development of The Fifth Vital lasted? In 2012, I commenced work on the book. It’s hard to believe, but the book took almost eight years to write. After meeting my future co-author, Riley, in 2019, we spent the next six months working tirelessly to complete the manuscript. This has been a very long trip.
You’ve amassed a massive online following. How did you first begin interacting with others to begin building your fanbase and reputation?
While I’m not trying to downplay my own efforts, I’d be dishonest if I said that being featured on Logan Paul’s podcast, contributing to his content, and now dating the largest porn star in the world, Lana Rhoades, had not aided in the rapid growth of my channels’ audiences. In any case, when I first arrived here more than two years ago, I brought with me an air of genuineness, openness, and relatability that has been my brand ever since. The reason this book has been so successful is because I was honest with my readers.
You have millions of internet fans and are a co-host of the most popular podcast in the world, Impaulsive. What’s it like to have an audience of millions at your disposal?
Having Impaulsive and the capacity to create the platform I have for myself feels like fate or serendipity on the one hand, and a tremendous blessing on the other. The world handed me this incredibly challenging story to tell, and it only seems right that it should be told on this stage.
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