The 82-year-old Academy Award-winning Welsh actor, known for playing a wide variety of roles ranging from Hannibal Lector in “The Silence of the Lambs” to the Norse god Odin in Marvel’s “Thor” films, acknowledged that 2020 had been a difficult year full of pain and sadness for many.
“But 45 years ago today, I had a wake-up call,” Hopkins said. “I was headed for disaster. I was drinking myself to death. I’m not preachy, but I got a message. A little thought that said, ‘Do you want to live or die?’ And I said, ‘I want to live.’ And suddenly the relief came and my life has been amazing.”
Hopkins acknowledged that he had his “off days and sometimes little bits of doubt and all that,” but encouraged everyone watching to stay positive despite the hardship of a year defined by a global pandemic.
“Today is the tomorrow you were so worried about yesterday,” Hopkins said. “You young people, don’t give up. Just keep in there. Keep fighting. Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid. That’s sustained me through my life.”
Hopkins has candidly touched on his early struggles with alcoholism in the past. In 2018, while speaking with students at the nonprofit LEAP leadership program, Hopkins said that during his theatrical career, he was “very difficult to work with,” and “usually hungover.”
Around December 1975, Hopkins said he hit a turning point and realized that he was not only a danger to himself while drunk, but also to others around him. After he joined Alcoholics Anonymous, Hopkins said he was struck by the words of a woman who told him to “just trust in God,” and lost the urge to drink shortly afterwards.
Need help with substance use disorder or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.