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The Fifth Vital

The Fifth Vital 
by Mike Majlak and Riley J. Ford 
Genre: Nonfiction 


Mike Majlak was a seventeen-year-old from a loving, middle-class family in Milford, Connecticut, when he got caught up in the opioid epidemic that swept the nation. For close to a decade thereafter, his life was a wasteland of darkness and despair. While his peers were graduating from college, buying homes, getting married, having kids, and leading normal lives, Mike was snorting OxyContin, climbing out of cars at gunpoint, and burying his childhood friends. Unable to escape the noose of addiction, he eventually lost the trust and support of everyone who had ever loved him. Alone, with nothing but drugs to keep him company, darkness closed in, and the light inside him--the last flicker of hope--began to dim. His dreams, potential, and future were all being devoured by a relentless addiction too powerful to fight. Despair filled him as he realized he wasn't going to survive.

Somehow, he did...



Now he's a social media personality with millions of followers, and an entrepreneur, marketer, podcaster, YouTuber, and author who hopes to use his voice to shine a light for those whose own lights have grown dim.

I tell myself every day, “You will not give up in the face of adversity. You will look every obstacle, every hurdle, every demon in its face. You will lower your shoulders and drive through that motherfucker without hesitation or regret.”

I believe that’s what separates those who make it from those who don’t. This is the mentality that got me through the most horrific, life-draining days of my addiction, and it is the same mentality that pushes me through every single moment I face today in my new career in this new L.A. world. I tell myself that if I’m able to let this mentality seep into every cell of my body, I can never lose. And this goes for anyone and everyone…that I know for sure.

You will not give up. You will get through this. Just keep moving forward. 

 The year was 2005. I had graduated high school just two years earlier. Many of my classmates from my predominantly white Connecticut town had gone off to college. Instead, I’d skipped academics and had gone straight into a different kind of existence.

I’d had a good childhood. I’d had such a promising life.

Now, a decade later, I braved the most dangerous streets in the country to sell drugs so I could support my own insatiable addiction.

To support this addiction, I sold narcotics to others like me to keep from getting sick…to keep away the pain.

I often wondered, “How did I get here?”

But then I pushed away this distracting self-reflection and continued down the path I’d chosen for myself.

Except…I hadn’t really chosen it.

In many ways, it had chosen me.

About Mike Majlak 

Mike Majlak currently lives in Los Angeles, where he is the co-host of Impaulsive and the host of The Night Shift. He has millions of followers on YouTube and Instagram.

About Riley J. Ford 

Riley J. Ford is a NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author and UCLA graduate represented by Creative Artists Agency. She writes under multiple pen names and has sold more than one million copies of her novels worldwide. One of her books has been adapted into an upcoming movie for Netflix. 

$100 Amazon Gift Card 

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  1. The novel sounds like a very compelling read. Best wishes to the author on the book.

  2. I like the cover as it just gives a hint of what's to come.

  3. This sounds like an interesting read! ❤


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