He ran out of a prescription to treat an injury suffered during a 2010 stint on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."
"All I had to do was get dressed for a family function and I couldn't do that," Sorrentino said Monday in an interview with The Associated Press. "The shirt was laid out, the belt, the pants, everything. The shower was on. I couldn't even get out of bed," he said. Then he thought, "If I can't do that how am I going to continue?"
There were rumors at the time that he was battling an addiction to drugs or alcohol but Sorrentino maintains that wasn't the case and says "those rumors were definitely false. I didn't mix anything."
Soon after he checked into rehab where doctors prescribed him with a medication to treat opiod addiction. Sorrentino still takes it daily and says that, combined with counseling, is what works best for him.
The 32-year-old is now a paid spokesman for Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the company that makes the medication he's taking. He's also helped launch a program called Reset Reality, to spread knowledge and understanding of opiod prescription painkiller addictions.
The road to figuring out he had a problem wasn't so easy. Looking back, there were people, like his family, who recognized before he did that something wasn't right.
For one, he stopped working out as much which was out of character. Also, he recalls "People would say, 'Mike's not the same Mike we've seen before.'" He would respond, "I don't know what they're talking about" or chalk it up to someone not liking him or the show, but now says, "I was suffering a disease."
After completing rehab, Sorrentino still had one more season to film of "Jersey Shore."
"A little part of me was like, 'How am I gonna get through this?' but if you watched I didn't have one drink."
The show aired its final episode last December. Since then Sorrentino has "gotten back to who Michael is."
The focus is on fitness, family, cooking and he says he also has a girlfriend.
He tries to look at life in 24 hour increments and his goal is to be "the best person I can be for those 24 hours."
Sorrentino also has plans to return to showbiz and hopes to have career announcements soon, but says staying healthy is his main focus and he's proud of that.
"The roller coaster of fame and fortune is definitely a ride in itself but to get to recovery is something special. ...There is hope out there and you can get help."