Few stories tug at our heartstrings more than Mike's inspiring journey through recovery.
When we first met the Jersey Shore: Family Vacation Part 2 star, he was juggling multiple grenades, head butting concrete slabs and had an ego bigger than Seaside Heights. Now with over two years of sobriety, all it takes to make The Situation Inspiration smile is some Funfetti cake and a smooch from his lady love, Laurens. While he's shared bits and pieces of his story, the latest episode of JSFV gave us a bigger glimpse at Mike's sober lifestyle -- and believe us when we say, The Situation as we knew him has really and truly left the building.
When he's not busy living his best life at the dinner table, Mike spends his time sharing his story with newcomers in sobriety. Once a month, he visits his rehab alma mater, Discovery Institute, and awards scholarships to those who can't afford treatment through The Giving Tree scholarship program. The New Jersey native dubs this one of his "biggest accomplishments."
"I actually love to give back," he shared. "I love to help others that are suffering from the disease of addiction, and I'm just very, very passionate about that. Giving back [helps me]."
Mike took JWOWW along for moral support on his latest jaunt to Discovery (the two are especially close), where he opened up about what it was like while detoxing. He practically white-knuckled his way through a severe case of the f*ck-its and eventually wound up staying in Discovery's in-patient program for 60 days.
"I didn't think that I'd ever get through it," he confessed. "I never thought in a million years that I would be the person that I am today."
While there, the roommates met with Anthony, a Giving Tree applicant and longtime Jersey Shore fan who actually grew up in Seaside Heights and according to JWOWW, is "a mirror image of Mike."
"Just knowing the fact that you were here, you went through the facility, and now you got your life back and your life turned around," Anthony shared. "I want to personally thank you for doing this."
Jenni was especially touched by Anthony's story and in Mike's involvement in providing hope to those who need it most.
"I joke all the time, and the roommates do, that we call Mike 'The Inspiration,' but after this moment, he is The Inspiration," she said, joining hands with Mike and Anthony for the Serenity Prayer. "To see this guy thank Mike for saving his life, literally. Like, I'm dead inside, and this was making me very emotional."
Us, too, Jenni! Us, too.
Tune in to Jersey Shore: Family Vacation Part 2 every Thursday at 8/7c, inspiration included. And if you or someone you know may be struggling with alcoholism or addiction, there is hope (truly). Visit halfofus.com for resources and additional information.