MyPillow CEO's Past Addiction Battle Inspires Him to Help Employees

By Paul Gaita 10/17/18

"Addicts are hard workers. Addiction's a lot of work… I'm all about second chances. When people come to me, that's their past."

Mike Lindell
Photo via YouTube

Mike Lindell, CEO of the popular MyPillow line of bedding, understands how substance use disorder can derail a person's ability to pursue their dreams or even maintain basic quality of life.

He struggled with years of addiction to cocaine and crack cocaine while attempting to launch MyPillow before gaining sobriety in 2009, two years before his company became an as-seen-on-TV sensation and a multimillion-dollar business.

Lindell now uses his success to provide employees and prospective workers who may be struggling with similar dependencies with the support they need to gain recovery, including direct connection with him for guidance and assistance.

Lindell estimated that 10 to 20% of his employees have "had struggles," as he told the Daily Caller, and said that he makes a point to hire people who have made recovery a priority. "Addicts are hard workers," he explained. "Addiction's a lot of work… I'm all about second chances. When people come to me, that's their past."

Of his 1,600 employees, Lindell estimates that 500 have his direct phone number, with which he said "they can tell me what's going on. We get them help. We're all about helping people."

The Daily Caller cited an example of Lindell's efforts in Patrick, a MyPillow employee. He had been drinking what he described as a bottle a night, which eventually impacted his work performance. Eventually, Patrick found himself on the phone with Lindell.

"I called him up and basically put myself where I was at 28 or 29 so I could connect with him," said the CEO. "I said, 'Here's your best help.'"

Though reluctant to enter rehab, Lindell's promise that a job at MyPillow would be waiting for him when he completed treatment convinced him to seek help. "I've worked multiple other jobs with the same problem, and I've never had this," said Patrick. 

Lindell subscribes to the notion that addiction is less of a disease than learned behavior as a coping mechanism. "It's a mask for pain that usually comes from childhood and fatherlessness," he opined, noting that he believed that the root of his addiction came from his parents' divorce when he was 7 years old.

But he also understands that recovery requires support and understanding, which is what he hopes to give to employees, both current and prospective.

"I'm giving people hope because I just put it all out there," he said.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.