MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell Talks US Addiction Problem, Giving ‘Second Chances’
- MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell makes it a point to hire people who have come out on the other side of addiction.
- A former crack cocaine addict, Lindell said individuals must come to understand the “why” behind their addiction.
- He praised the work of faith-based rehabilitation centers like those run by the Salvation Army
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell understands the struggles with addiction that many of his employees have been through — he has struggled with substance abuse himself. Now he feels like his position gives him the chance to grant people second chances and encourage recovery, Lindell told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Addicts are hard workers,” he told TheDCNF. “Addiction’s a lot of work. … I’m all about second chances. When people come to me, that’s their past.”
Lindell, who founded MyPillow in 2004, called the opioid crisis an “epidemic of biblical proportions.” Overdose deaths have skyrocketed in recent years, and those statistics don’t even begin to cover the number of people affected by opioids and other addictive substances.
That is part of why Lindell makes it a point to hire people who have come out on the other side of addiction, and estimates 10 to 20 percent of his employees have “had struggles,” he told TheDCNF.
“I have 1600 employees, and 500 have my direct phone number,” Lindell told TheDCNF via telephone. “If there’s deviation in behavior, they can tell me what’s going on. … We get them help. We’re all about helping people.”
When current employees fall off the wagon, Lindell does not want them to make the typical excuses about seeking help, either.
For Lindell, helping could even mean holding a job for someone while they spend months in rehab to finally kick a bad habit. That’s what he plans to do for MyPillow employee Patrick. TheDCNF chose to identify Patrick, who is in his early 30s, by first name only.
Patrick worked for MyPillow, which is based in Chaska, Minnesota, for nearly two years.
“It was a good job,” Patrick, who worked in shipment, told TheDCNF. “I drank a lot, but I never drank on the job. I drank at night and came in every morning. … I was a bottle-a-night person.”
He had never lost a job because of his drinking, although he had been warned because he smelled “like booze” at other workplaces, Patrick said.
When others at MyPillow noticed his behavior was off in the spring, Patrick found himself talking to Lindell.
“I called him up and basically put myself where I was at 28 or 29 so I could connect with him,” Lindell told TheDCNF. “I said, ‘Here’s your best help.'”
Patrick was surprised by Lindell’s involvement and his promise that a job would be waiting for him back at MyPillow. Patrick has a four-year degree in finance and will likely come back to work for MyPillow’s finance department, Lindell told TheDCNF.
“I think it is unusual,” Patrick told TheDCNF. “I worked multiple other jobs with the same problem, and I’ve never had this. I’ve had one employer say you should go into treatment.”
Patrick started at a Salvation Army rehab center in May and plans to finish up in November. (RELATED: Possible Replacements For Nikki Haley Already Being Floated As Trump Says Announcement Coming Soon)
“I’ve been through [rehab] before,” he told TheDCNF. “I didn’t want to do it again. … This time, I’m taking it more seriously.”
Past Guiding The Future
A former crack cocaine addict, Lindell says nothing will fix the opioid epidemic wreaking havoc on American companies and families until individuals understand the “why” behind their addiction.
“Addiction’s some kind of disease? No, it’s not,” he told TheDCNF. “It’s a mask for pain that usually comes from childhood and fatherlessness.”
Lindell traces his own inner pain back to his parents’ divorce when he was 7. By the time he was in his 20s, he was abusing cocaine. After ups and downs, he has not touched drugs since 2009.
Lindell has heard many worst-case scenario stories about opioid overdoses and unrealized potential. He wants to be a former addict success story, and he wants any of his employees who have struggled with drug and alcohol abuse before to overcome addiction, too. (RELATED: Kelley Paul Points To Criminal Justice Reform As The Way ‘Hyper-Partisan’ Washington Can Learn To Work Together)
“I’m giving people hope because I just put it all out there,” Lindell told TheDCNF.
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