Mike's life has been "radically changed by Jesus Christ" as Mike's inspiring interview with Jim Wood from "Abiding in Christ Ministries" shows.
Mike's cocaine and crack cocaine addictions
Mike suffered from a lack of self-esteem that goes back to his parents' divorce when he was 7 years old. This led Mike to become addicted to cocaine, as he found that he could talk to people while doing cocaine, and he was “addicted to cocaine for about 20 years as a very functioning addict."
Meanwhile, Mike was always an entrepreneur and ended up getting a small bar not too far from his hometown, which he had for 13 years (which, as Mike says, is “not a good place for an addict”). Things really changed, though, when Mike started crack cocaine, and he had to sell his bar.
Mike's MyPillow dream
“A dream from God” got Mike to start inventing the MyPillow. After he finally invented the perfect pillow, though, Mike was “completely broke," was "turned down everywhere," and ended up mortgaging his house just to buy Christmas presents.
So, Mike tried selling his pillows at a kiosk, but was unsuccessful. However, he was given a “miracle” in his life: one of the customers called Mike to say, “MyPIllow changed my life, and I run the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show - would you like a spot there?”
So, Mike took the spot and found that having a table in front of him allowed him to talk to people, without needing any drugs, because the people were there with an agenda, and he could talk to people because he was so “passionate about helping people." This success led Mike to sell his pillows on the road at the Minnesota State Fair and other fairs and shows across the country.
Mike quits his addictions
But, Mike was still doing crack cocaine and lost his marriage, his house, and almost lost the MyPillow company.
In fact, Mike’s addiction to crack cocaine was so bad that his drug dealers actually did an intervention on him after he had been up for 14 days, saying “you made a promise to us that someday you would come back and help us all in the inner cities, and that the pillows are just a big platform for God, so we're not going to let you die on us.”
A few months after that, an old friend came to Mike out of the blue saying “the Lord led me here." The friend had started cocaine, then crack cocaine at the same time Mike had. But he found Jesus three years earlier and had quit. So, because his friend “was my equal," Mike was able to ask him questions about getting clean that only his friend could answer (like "is it boring?").
Then, on January 16, 2009, Mike prayed, saying “if I wake up in the morning and never have the desire for all these addictions, I’ll do this platform thing that God gave me with MyPillow." And when he woke up the next day, his addictions were gone.
Things started turning around then. Mike was able to get a loan for $30,000 to save the MyPillow company - despite telling the business that he had just quit crack cocaine “last Thursday”. And Mike was able to get the MyPillow company back on its feet again.
The MyPillow infomercial
A few years later, Mike did the first MyPillow infomercial. It started out rough: it took Mike nine takes just to do one line. But then, Mike changed the format to emulate the environment of his fairs and shows: talking to a live audiance with a table in front of him. He then threw out the teleprompter and started ad-libbing.
The rest is history: the infomercial was a tremendous success. In fact, Mike went from five employees to 500 in 40 days, and that infomercial was the number one infomercial in the world.
Mike surrenders to Jesus
By 2014, though, Mike felt he was missing something: he wanted to talk about Jesus with the same passion he had for MyPillow. Shortly after that, he went to an event called The Drop Zone, a retreat for veterans. As Mike says, “I walked in there with hope and I came out of there with Jesus...I surrendered. It was the most amazing thing ever. Jesus showed up. I walked out of there and now I'm going, wow, I can go out publicly and I can talk about Jesus."
And this year, Mike ended up at the US Bank Stadium (where the Super Bowl was) in Minnesota, leading 50,000 people in prayer and telling his story. “It's like a fulfillment coming to fruition, it's what I've been praying for.”
And the moral of the story?
As Jim Wood puts it, “Mike didn't pull himself up by his bootstraps. He didn't fix himself. Jesus saved Mike. If you are wondering, how can I get out of this mess. What am I going to do? What have I got to do? Mike said it right: surrender. Quit trying to save yourself, surrender and ask him to save you, ask him to take control of your life.”