Marci Hopkins endured an extremely troubled childhood: Her memories are filled with abandonment from her mother, physical and sexual abuse from the men in their lives, and an overwhelming lack of safety.
Instead of succumbing to all of the trauma and pain in her life, she found her way back to sobriety and self-love—and discovered her power.
Today, Hopkins, an award-winning TV host, has a great deal to teach us about overcoming major adversity, including alcoholism and sexual abuse, as well as about finding our way to pursuing the lives that we long for and deserve.
With September being National Recovery Month, Hopkins, who is in her 7th year of sobriety, is extremely candid on and off the air about her difficult childhood, past addiction, and recovery. She also is helping us see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even for those enduring difficulties that often seem insurmountable.
Her recent book Chaos to Clarity: Seeing the Signs and Breaking the Cycles details her story of sexual abuse, alcoholism, and recovery. It is a brutally raw and honest account of a troubled childhood and adulthood that could have continued to go very wrong and dissolve her marriage—but she changed her own narrative.
Hopkins found a way to reconcile her shattered early dreams, lost hope, and crumbled fairy tales. She believed in herself, her husband, and her children enough to get and stay sober and begin her journey with a fresh start.
The host of Wake Up With Marci focuses her television show on informing and inspiring her audience with real-life stories. Through her interviews, she shares stories of hope, celebrity inspiration, and education from thought leaders, authors, medical professionals, and more so that her viewers can put their lives back on the track that they want to pursue.
Among her recent guests have been Patricia Heaton, John Stamos, Sheryl Crow, and Lincoln Lawyer star Chris Browning.
“It all goes back to our mental health; how we’re feeling and coping with it. It’s about building a strong toolbox to put our lives back together in a positive way,” Hopkins exclusively tells Parade.com.
“There are so many of us that are in need of help, and to know that there is help available and that healing is possible,” she said. “There are concrete things that we need to do to start our healing, and to shift your life from a negative place to a positive one. I hope that my book will create change for others.”
Hopkins has dedicated a powerful story in each show this month to give encouragement, help those in recovery, and support available for families.
“I will celebrate seven years of sobriety on Oct. 4, 2022, and I know that making a decision to stop drinking is extremely difficult,” Hopkins told us. “We all have our own rock bottoms, and mine came from trying to cope with my childhood trauma with alcohol and a victim mentality.”
Read on for how Hopkins’ difficult journey has led to recovery, self-awareness, and the need to help all of us not just survive, but thrive to truly live our best lives.
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Please talk briefly about your expectations for Wake Up With Marci and how it has evolved over time.
Marci Hopkins: I started Wake Up With Marci because I was about a year into my healing journey and I began living an incredible life. I saw the changes I was making in my life and the magic in what was happening to me. From triumphs and transformation to fun and inspiration, my talk show is about spreading hope and empowerment, along with educating the audience and providing resources from industry leaders so my viewers can put their lives into action. That is the idea and the mission.
Since then, it has really grown with still the same message of sharing hope and the idea of being able to move into a better life through other people’s stories, but it’s really taken on a life of helping those in the wellness, mental health, and recovery space.
Did that message and that mission become even more vital? Especially because we know that the pandemic brought out a lot of loneliness, isolation, and depression in people.
It truly shined a light on the help that is needed in mental health and really broke the stigma and the shame associated with it. This pandemic has shown how many are affected, whether it’s mental health diagnosis, depression, anxiety, negative coping with alcohol or eating, or whatever it is, in order for each of us to get through difficult situations like divorce, which has increased during the pandemic. What comes from divorce? Not only two people separating but how it affects the entire family.
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Your book came out in May 2022. Tell us about it.
I feel that Chaos to Clarity is an extension of my message. I was able to share my story of abuse and recovery. I developed negative coping mechanisms, which for me were alcohol, attention, and my negative relationship patterns. I was able to share candidly about my story and how I changed through my healing journey.
In the book, I share that once I hit my rock bottom, I made a choice to put down the drink, how the 12-step program helped me, and how I was able to move past a victim mentality. This is huge for a lot of people as a coping mechanism that is implemented when we are young, and we feel like the whole world is against us. I’m able to share how I got through it and the tools that helped me, along with building my spiritual practice, and the signs and guidance from the other side.
What other lessons do you incorporate in your book?
I want people to know the importance of breaking generational cycles, which has been huge in my family. I think a lot of people can relate to this aspect of the book. I share tools and action items in my book. I just really want to continue my efforts in helping people know that changing their life and moving into a place of happiness is possible. I want to help them figure out how to do it and to know they have to do the work to make the changes. One of my favorite tools that I received in the 12-step program is the saying “move a muscle, change a thought.” We know that a lot of people are ashamed of their past and their addiction. Where do you think you got the guts to bare your soul?
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We know that a lot of people are ashamed of their past and their addiction. Where do you think you got the guts to bare your soul?
I think I’ve always had the strength because I’ve had to put up a lot of walls just to survive. I’ve always been very strong in my ability to move on from painful situations. When I first hit my rock bottom and was going through my first year of sobriety, I was riddled with shame. I was riddled with guilt from my past of the people that I had hurt. But once I started my spiritual journey, and started healing and realizing that my past does not define me and that my past is not my fault, I was able to gather more strength to start telling my story.
It took a while for me to be honest with my story because I was feeling so much shame. I wanted to protect myself and I wanted to protect my family, but I knew the only way that I could really help people was to truly be transparent with my story. People could relate to me and hopefully be able to learn from the experiences I’ve gone through. Because the only way that we can help anyone else is by being genuine, authentic, and transparent with our truth.
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Talk about celebrating seven years of sobriety.
I live a life just so full of gratitude, and that’s where it starts really. You put down the drink to stop masking the pain, but once you start shifting into a grateful mindset and doing the practices and implementing the tools every day; it’s just really magical how life changes.
What else do you want to say about National Recovery Month?
Once I was able to put down the drink and work the 12-step program my life changed. There are so many miracles in sobriety, so I share my story of abuse, alcoholism, and sobriety through personal stories.
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Let’s talk about a few of your celebrity guests, starting with those who are involved in recovery.
Well, Patricia Heaton shared about her sobriety and recovery, and so that was a very special interview for me because she was so open. I shared this with you before, I felt like it was just two girlfriends talking, and she was sharing with me that once her projects had stopped, she was spending a lot of time at home, and this was even during the pandemic, that she noticed that her drinking started elevating.
She shared how much she was drinking, and that she realized that it was inhibiting her from really living a full life. Now that she’s in her 50s and she had so much more life to live, she was sharing how much fuller her life is since she decided to put down the drink. Then she was asking me about my rock bottom and how that happened to me. She shared at the end that the years that I’ve been in recovery give her continued hope for herself. That was pretty significant for me.
You have had many celebrity guests on your show who share a great deal about their personal stories.
I love that my celebrity guests who have had daunting and tragic things happen that create so much fear in our lives, are eager to share how they have overcome them and now they’re trying to help others, if it should happen to them or if there’s something that’s preventative.
Well, I love Sheryl Crow. Sheryl had breast cancer and she is now trying to bring awareness about the importance of getting mammograms. I love that she’s trying to bring awareness to mammograms because this is prevention; if you find out early on, you can survive.
She has a documentary that has come out about her story, and she’s just really trying to be transparent in her story also. To let other people know that celebrities are human, and they go through the same things that others go through. And I think that they tell their stories so they can be seen through a human lens.
This good friend of Candace Cameron Bure started a foundation called Skip1.org, and the idea of the foundation is to encourage others to skip getting that cup of coffee, skip buying that new dress, and maybe go into your closet and maybe find another dress, and to help those in need.
Another wonderful recent guest was John Stamos. He was on my show during Men’s Health Month and spoke about men eating better and helping themselves to be more aware of how they’re treating themselves so they can live a better life. He is also very comedic and brought a lot of humor to the interview.
What charities are you involved in and why is philanthropy important to you?
I’m on the board of the YWCA, and the focus is helping women’s empowerment. My aim is to help healingSPACE and it is very important to me because it helps those that have been sexually abused or raped. It’s helping women by providing free therapy, free hospital tests, and clothing. The help is there to help women get through a very tragic circumstance.
I am also dedicated to helping the orphans in Uganda; who have captured my heart. There is the Kumali Orphanage in Uganda. A woman named Justina was looking for help and found me on Facebook. A few other people and I helped to raise money for them to buy land and build a home with all of the essentials that we take for granted every day, including running water and a fully-functioning kitchen. Now they have a fully sustainable farm and clean water and it’s amazing and inspiring to be part of this!
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Is there a light at the end of the tunnel for each of us struggling with our own major issues? And how do you know?
There’s absolutely a light at the end of the tunnel. I know this because I am living proof of it today. I have never been more spiritually connected. I’ve never lived in more joy. I know that there’s more evolution and purpose for my life, and that will just continue to build on the happiness and joy that I am living today. The fulfillment for me is to give this to others through my story.
7 Top Tips from Marci Hopkins from her powerful new book
1. Stay present. Stop living in the past and worrying about the future.
2. Live in gratitude. Find three things you are grateful for to move from a negative mindset into a positive mindset.
3. Forgive; (Forgiveness is for you). Move from being a victim and release the control the person or situation has had over your life.
4. Give back. This takes you out of yourself. It helps you to connect with others and feel good about yourself.
5. Believe in something bigger than yourself. i.e. a Higher power, Nature, Source, Spirit.
6. Meditate! Meditation helps with healing, intuition, focus, and inner peace.
7. Celebrate things you are good at. And celebrate the small wins, this helps with self-confidence and self-love.
Next, check out the best movies about addiction.