Mike Sorrentino: Prison Was Scary AF, But I Survived, I'm Still Sober ... and I Lost a TON of Weight!

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A new season of Jersey Shore kicks off on MTV tonight, and while that's certainly a phrase we didn't expect to be writing in 2020, we have to credit the show for remaining fresh by not shying away from the many hardships its cast has faced in recent years.

It was the guidos love of partying that made Shore a sensation, but it's the honest and humble ways in which they've faced an array of challenges together that have kept them hanging around.

Jersey Shore: Family Vacation Cast

Draw whatever conclusions you must about the differences between life in your twenties vs. life in your thirties.

Anyway, the Shore star who faced the most dire circumstances and lived to fist-pump about it was probably Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino.

Back in 2018, Sorrentino pled guilty to tax fraud and was sentenced to eight months in prison.

Mike Sorrentino in the Gym

His final days as a free man were documented on Shore, and in January of 2019, Sorrentino began serving his sentence.

Mike was released from prison back in September, and while he clung to his signature positivity throughout his sentence, he doesn't deny that he was changed by the experience.

"At times, I thought I was in the really cool prison, like a federal camp," he told Us Weekly in a recent interview.

Sober Sitch

"But there was times when they did searches, and they found like shanks and stuff! I was like, 'Damn, I'm actually in prison! I better tighten up! I better tighten the hell up!'" he added.

"You start to ease, like, 'Oh, I'm in the cool prison with white collar' ... and next thing you know, they searched a couple guys, and they found some shanks. I was like, 'Wow, shit just got real!

"I better keep my head on a swivel and call the missus.' Like, 'Hey, baby! I'm okay!'"

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino and His Wife

Not surprisingly, Mike says the hardest part of the ordeal was the separation from his friends and family.

"A day away from your loved ones is unacceptable," he said.

"The food wasn't good, the sleeping arrangements weren't good, but at the end of the day, you have to make the best of it, and I believe I did that," he added.

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"I lost 40 lbs, remained sober, and now I'm back with my family and loved ones and working and getting back to life. And that's what it's all about."

From there, Mike revealed that he attributed his ability to maintain a positive outlook to a "business decision."

"If you choose positivity against adversity, that's sort of like your weapon, you know what I'm saying?" he explained.

The Sitch Is Back

"And if you're facing depression or anxiety or certain things in life, you have a choice. Do I rise above, or do I get swallowed up by circumstance? And I chose to sort of fight this thing. I chose to be accountable," Sorrentino added.

"I chose to hold my head high and handle this whole situation from start to finish with grace and class. And I'm very, very proud of myself, my family and my friends for supporting me."

His castmates say they remain in awe of Mike's ability to cope with adversity and not allow it to derail his relentless self-improvement campaign.

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino Arrives at Court

"He obviously has been the inspiration for a while, but that was like seeing it in actual real life because it was testedn" Vinny Guadagnino told Us.

"It's like, you can have all the quotes in the world, but that was actually something you had to physically go through, and he remained the same exact person in prison! He was emailing us, keeping me positive while he was there. So if he could do that, my hat's off to him."

Angelina Pivarnick says that while she's appreciative of the improvements in Mike's outlook and personality, she might be even more impressed with his physical transformation.

Mike and Ronnie

"It was so funny," she said. "I was like, where did the dad bod go? It was gone!"

"I chose to be active from day one and try to progress in any way, shape or form -- whether it's mentally, physically or spiritually. I believe I did that, along with reading books and the Bible and things like that," Mike said in response to Pivarnick's praise.

Obviously, the experience was a tremendously challenging one for Mike, but he doesn't deny that his celebrity status frequently earned him special treatment.

"Listen, at the end of the day, I feel this experience has made me a better person, and I guess I have to thank God for that," he added.

Mike Sorrentino and Wife

"You do make friends, but at the end of the day, it's about survival, you know what I'm saying?" the Sitch went on.

"The guys in there were really good to me. I got extra food. I was able to watch 'Jersey Shore' every Thursday, which was really cool."

That's when the interview really took an emotional turn:

The Honeymoon Situation

"I was a bit in my feels because that was my wedding season, so every Thursday, I'm actually in prison, can't go anywhere, I'm not with my wife watching it on TV," Mike noted.

"So it was a bit surreal. But now I'm home and making the best of it."

No doubt any fans are ecstatic about the return of Shore.

But we're sure tonight's premiere is of special significance to the newly-reunited Mike and Lauren.

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