MyPillow founder Mike Lindell may be at the peak of his success with his popular pillow company, but a little over a decade ago, the 58-year-old was struggling with an overpowering drug and alcohol addiction that nearly destroyed his life.
Lindell — also called “the MyPillow guy” by Twitter users, who were confused by his March 30, 2020 appearance alongside President Trump at a White House coronavirus press briefing — went from a cocaine, crack, and booze addict to a multimillionaire CEO. He got candid about his past struggles in a 2017 interview with CNBC.
During the talk, Lindell admitted he dropped out of college and tanked at every job he had. He tried to raise pigs, start a wagon business, and launch a carpet cleaning company. He got fired from a grocery store job and a gig as a card counter in Las Vegas. He became a bartender and then bought a bar, but at that point, his addictions escalated. “Probably wasn’t a real good idea because I was an addict at the time, a pretty hard-core cocaine addict,” he told the outlet.
Thankfully, he was able to turn his life around. As Lindell told Bloomberg in 2017, “The last thing I expected in the world was to end up being involved in a presidential campaign. I’m an ex-crack addict, come on! My book writer just had a pretty great line: ‘From the crack house to the White House!'”
Mike Lindell's dark past
In 2004, the idea for MyPillow came to Mike Lindell in a dream, and he spent hours learning to sew, cutting material, and building a prototype at home with his son, per CNBC. They managed to make a few pillows, and when they were done, Lindell went to sell them at a Christmas kiosk in Minnesota. They sold out and caught the attention of a local home shop owner. The rest is history.
While Lindell began seeing steady success in his business, he still couldn’t distance himself from the drugs. Due to his habits, he lost his house and his wife. The mother of his four kids, Karen Dickey, filed for divorce from him after 20 years together. Lindell hit rock bottom and was left with nothing but his business. At one point, he nearly lost that too.
Despite it all, his drug use did not cease. As Lindell told CNBC, in March 2008, he was awake for at least two weeks doing crack. Even his dealer told fellow dealers not to sell him any drugs until he got some sleep. Lindell returned to his dealer’s apartment after failing to buy more drugs. “He goes, ‘Give me your phone. I’m going to take a picture. You’re going to need this for your book,'” Lindell recalled.
The now-multimillionaire kept that photo and even used it on the back cover of his autobiography, What Are The Odds?, which was released in 2019.
The MyPillow CEO's journey to sobriety
Back in 2009, MyPillow founder Mike Lindell finally decided to get sober. He told CNBC that in January of that year, “I had one prayer that night, ‘God, I want to wake up in the morning and never have the desire again.'”
At that point, his company was truly kicking off, and he felt the need to get himself together. “I woke up the next day — and you’ve got to realize this is years of crack addiction — I go, ‘Wow, something’s different,'” he recalled, adding that his desire for cocaine “was just gone” after that.
Lindell is now worth a whopping $330 million, according to Wealthy Persons. He remains single, as his second wife Dallas Yocum left him soon after their 2013 wedding, admitting she never really loved him. He detailed the tumultuous relationship in an interview with The Star Tribune, claiming that all Yocum wanted was his money. Luckily, Lindell had her sign a prenup.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and mental health, please contact SAMHSA’s 24-hour National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
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