Mike Linstead Fought Addiction with Weightlifting

It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up. 

Babe Ruth said that in 1940.

And that same creed… that same philosophy still rings true today.

Take APEMAN Mike Linstead, for example. 

“I’m an ex-alcoholic and drug addict who also lost his own stomach to stomach cancer at age 22,” Mike said. “I’ve gone from being homeless and living under a bridge in California at 25-years-old to becoming a married homeowner at 30.

“I’ll never give up. Ever.”

When Mike was 22, his father, grandmother and grandfather all died. To characterize that as a punch in the gut would be a vast understatement. 

He ran to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. 

“I was physically addicted to alcohol to the point of having seizures if I didn’t drink something like a pint of liquor as soon as I woke up,” he said. “I was prescribed eight different psychotropic and narcotic medications. I was homeless and also doing whatever street drugs that I could find. I was in and out of rehabs, jails, hospitals and institutions.”

Mike eventually overdosed on pills and alcohol. He ended up at a recovery location in Los Angeles called The Dream Center. It’s a non-denominational Christian church that houses over 650 people at any given time all year long.

“I lived there for three years before moving to Louisiana,” Mike reflected. “That’s when I got my life back. I met Jesus there. I met my wife there. I was certified as a personal trainer there. Cleared all of my records. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

Mike relied on fitness to overcome his demons. Weightlifting and powerlifting have kept him focused, driven and motivated to stay sober and build a better future for his family.

Now he gets a paycheck from helping other individuals overcome their own obstacles through lifting. 

All because he never gave up. 

“That’s why APEMAN speaks to me,” Mike said. “They don’t apologize for being honest and that resonates with me. As a certified trainer and USA-Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach, I’m constantly dealing with teenagers that aren’t used to working hard. But sharing my life story with them – my cancer, my overcoming addiction, my accomplishments in the weight room and in life despite all of that – seems to light a fire under their butt.”

If Mike has learned anything from his experience, it’s that life doesn’t care who you are; it will always outwork you if you let it. 

“What inspires me about APEMAN is their love for hard work and perseverance,” Mike said. “I think those are two qualities that are diminishing in the younger generations. Mine included. 

“APEMAN stands for what most people run from.”