The illustrious actor’s whole life changed when a woman asked him, “Why don’t you just trust in God?”
Hopkins was recently invited to be the guest speaker at the 11th annual Leadership, Excellence and Accelerating Your Potential conference (LEAP), where he talked to a crowd of nearly 500 high school and college students. He advised them:
“If you chase the money, it’s not gonna work. And if you chase success, it’s not gonna work. You just have to chase whatever you want to be, but live it as if it is happening now. Act as if you’re already there, and it’ll fall into place.”
Later in his speech, while recalling the early years of his career, he opened up about his struggle with alcoholism, describing himself at that time as “disgusted, busted and not to be trusted.” Hopkins said the theater culture didn’t help:
“Because that’s what you do in theater, you drink,” the 80-year-old actor explained. “But I was very difficult to work with, as well, because I was usually hungover.”
In 1975, when he was 37, the Welsh actor realized that he was a danger to himself and others when he drank and so he turned to Alcoholics Anonymous. In an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Hopkins described his alcoholism:
“It was like being possessed by a demon, an addiction, and I couldn’t stop. And millions of people are like that. I could not stop.”
It was at an AA meeting that a woman made a suggestion that changed his life: “Why don’t you just trust in God?”
The woman’s idea almost seemed too simple to work, and Hopkins might have rejected it, as he considered himself an atheist at the time. Be it touched by grace, or in the depths of desperation, he took the advice and as he tells it the desire to drink was taken from him, “never to return.” He has held fast his faith ever since.
Shortly before the release of his 2011 film The Rite, where he played a priest, he spoke with The Catholic Herald about atheism, which he compared to “living in a closed cell with no windows”:
“I’d hate to live like that, wouldn’t you? We see them, mind you, on television today, many brilliant people who are professional atheists who say they know for a fact that it’s insanity to have a God or to believe in religion. Well, OK, God bless them for feeling that way and I hope they’re happy.”
He added: “But I couldn’t live with that certainty, and I wonder about some of them: why are they protesting so much? How are they so sure of what is out there? And who am I to refute the beliefs of so many great philosophers and martyrs all the way down the years?”
Hopkins’ career has spanned nearly six decades and he is widely regarded as one of the greatest living actors of his generation. This year, after starring in the second season of Westworld, Hopkins will be portraying Pope Benedict XVI in the upcoming Netflix feature, Pope.
Support Aleteia! It only takes a minute.
If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.
Here are some numbers:
- 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
- Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
- Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
- Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
- Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
- We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)
As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.
Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!