The 'Jersey Shore' star opened up on the heels of his memoir, 'Reality Check: Making the Best of The Situation,' hitting bookstores.
Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino remembers trying heroin for the first time. It was in 2015, shortly before he entered rehab. He snorted the addictive drug and just like that, it became the lowest point in his life. And a massive wake-up call.
The 41-year-old Jersey Shore star sat down with ET's Rachel Smith at his home in New Jersey, where he opened up about his bad habits and how much money he sank to enable them. Sorrentino says things got so out of hand with his addiction to pain killers he'd even smuggle them whenever he was filming.
Sorrentino, who credits his wife, Lauren, and his mother, Linda, for saving him, will celebrate eight years of sobriety come December. As he approaches that milestone, Sorrentino, soon to be a father of three, is revealing his harrowing past in a new and gripping memoir, Reality Check: Making the Best of The Situation -- How I Overcame Addiction, Loss, and Prison.
"When I finally got to rehab in 2015 that was definitely my low, but my lowest was like a day or so before that, when I did something I never thought I was gonna do," he says. "I ended up trying a drug that I never thought I would try. A drug that kills most people. A drug that most people don't come back from. A drug that I told myself that I would never do, that I thought was dirty. It was heroin."
Sorrentino says he was overcome with disappointment after trying heroin. At that point, he'd already been addicted to oxycodone, he says, "but I was desperate and i was in that hole."
"I was depressed and [with] anxiety and self-doubt," he adds. "I had given up on myself. I just wanted to get out of that space mentally."
As if addiction already didn't hold a tight grip on him, fame and money -- following the immense success of the hit MTV reality show -- exacerbated the problem.
"One hundred percent," he says. "It was like gasoline on fire."
Jersey Shore -- with a cast comprised of Mike, Pauly D, Nicole "Snookie" Polizzi, Sammi "Sweetheart" Giancola, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Jenny "JWoww" Farley, Vinny Guadagnino, Angelina Pivarnick and Deena Nicole Cortese -- enjoyed six successful seasons on MTV from 2009 to 2012. He's not proud of it, but Sorrentino admits the show's success led to him being flushed with cash. So much so, he says he spent a whopping $500,000 to fuel his drug habit.
"I was a young and wild, careless kid, and once you gave kids millions of dollars and Ferraris and Lambos and girls screaming my name and yes-men everywhere, it was hard to turn that off," Sorrentino says. "That was my problem for many years -- how do you turn off the excess? And I think it wasn't just my problem. Most people in our world or in the celebrity world or in the entertainment world, they have a problem turning off the excess button."
Looking back now, Sorrentino almost cringes when he thinks about how much money he dropped to support his habit.
"When you think of that number, when you hear that number, that's a good college fund right there," he analyzes now. "I gotta just be accountable and be like, 'Yeah, that happened.' I was wild. I was careless. I was reckless, and I fell prey to drug addiction, and in the book I describe that I did spend about half a million dollars on cocaine and oxycodone."
Sorrentino said any drug he wanted was always at his disposal.
"I was into everything. I had everything on me at all times in my Louis Vuitton bag. Everything -- from a couple hundred Roxicet, which are 30 milligram oxycodone, then I'd have probably 150 Percocets on me, which are 10 milligram oxycodone," he tells ET. "Then I would have about 100 Xanax on me, 100 Valium, and if I wasn't traveling on a plane maybe I would have some weed and cocaine as well, 'cause I knew that if I traveled on a plane, not a good idea to try and go through security with cocaine and weed on you."
Sorrentino says he was "constantly" self-medicating one drug after another.
"My life was going by so quickly that, at the time, I made a mistake and I thought it was going to help my performance or my stamina, and for a little bit, I have to say, that it did," he says. "But eventually I became dependent and I became addicted on these substances."
For instance, while on season 11 of Dancing With the Stars, Sorrentino says, "I was always high." And not just on that show, but whenever he made appearances on talk shows as well. He says it was hard hiding his addiction from handlers and the Jersey Shore production.
"It was extremely hard. It consumed all my time, to try to get by MTV and production on how I was going to smuggle in drugs on a season," he says. "And it obviously would vary on location as well. If it was Miami, if it was Italy."
He'd go to extreme lengths to "smuggle" these drugs. He had to, he says, because he "misjudged" his "appetite" and "dependency" on these drugs. He says every season was different in terms of how he smuggled drugs.
"The one in Italy was very, very risky because you're traveling across the country and I smuggled in a couple hundred Roxys in a shoe, in an Altoids case that I disassembled."
He says he hid the shoe in a suitcase filled with 20 other pairs of shoes to "disguise" it. He'd also pack tons and tons of bags to dissuade TSA security from checking every single bag.
"Once they went through the 10 somewhat bags they started to get tired," he says. "And I knew that 'cause I'm going season [after] season. I kinda know the routine and then eventually, once they got to the bag in question, I would say, 'Oh, I need to put those shoes on.' So, I took them out of the equation."
Sorrentino says he'd limit himself to two pills of painkillers per day. That soon turned into six per day and eventually he'd run out. He recalls a season 4 episode in Italy when he infamously landed in the hospital after he headbutted a concrete wall amid a fight with Ronnie over Sammy "Sweetheart."
"You guys saw in Italy when I ran my head into a wall," Sorrentino says. "I was going through withdrawals at the time 'cause I had ran out of pills."
That he was able to keep up with this drug addiction is, as he says, "insanity."
"I mean, when the lawyers told me, 'You spent about half a million on cocaine and oxycodone,' I was like, 'Man, that definitely sounds about right,' because it was true," he says. "I got to the point in my life I couldn't hide it anymore. I got to the point where I needed to do something different, and the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Once I started to become sober, I really just turned everything over and was doing everything differently."
Sorrentino's memoir, Reality Check: Making the Best of The Situation -- How I Overcame Addiction, Loss, and Prison, is available Dec. 19.