Have you ever had that moment when you stop and say, how did I get so lucky? Well, I wish I could say that the happiness I live today was all luck but it was a long journey of healing to get to a place of joy.
When I was young I had a troubled upbringing. There was anger in my home, alcoholism, physical abuse from my mother’s boyfriends but the ultimate trauma was the sexual abuse form my step father. We all want that fairytale upbringing and my childhood was far from it.
As a 12 year old being abused, I found alcohol to escape. This was not surprising as my mom was an alcoholic and she showed me alcohol and pills were the answer to your problem. When I was 8 years old and had a stomach ache, her answer was a sip of a margarita to help me go to the bathroom. When I was afraid to sleep at her boyfriend’s house, she gave me a sleeping pill. The cycle of negativity didn’t seem to end.
As I got older, I fought hard to put my past behind me but the one thing that never changed was drinking every day to unwind, deal with my problems, or have fun. It became my norm.
I managed to find direction, go to school and create success for myself in work. That is the thing about alcohol, we may think our drinking is normal, life is moving on, but I know now I was a functioning alcoholic.
When I was 29 and living in LA, I had worked my way up the corporate ladder, met my husband and started a family by 33. Life looked amazing but I began to crumble. I had left work and I was now alone with a baby, feeling isolated and no longer validated as a successful business woman. Who was I now? I had to find a new way to happiness. I worked hard at this because I wanted to give a different life to my son than I had lived. I knew I never wanted him to feel abandoned as I had in my past. I kept my drinking at bay but I did still drink everyday, this was normal to me as I grew up with it.
And so, I had begun therapy once again. I had tried therapy so many times to heal but I never got past the feeling of being a victim and having hope I would have a normal relationship with my mom and hopefully break the bad cycles in my relationships. I did not know how to love myself which inhibited me from truly loving someone else and allowing them to love me. The only true love I knew was the love I felt for my son.
While I was trying to heal once again, my husband had a job opportunity in New York, so we picked up and moved to New Jersey from LA.
I was excited for the change, one pattern that I had developed through my life was thinking a location change would be my answer to happiness, a new start, leaving the bad behind. But, the one key thing was me, I was the broken one so no matter where I went the problems followed.
My husband and I got pregnant right away, while this should have been a joyous time, I wasn’t ready for it. My son was almost two, my husband’s family was in NJ, so I was looking forward to exploring New York and a new place with my husband. You see, I had very little time with my husband because of the demands of his job. Being a child with abandonment issues follows you into adulthood and when your partner is not available because of life circumstances those feelings come rushing back in. After a little time of disappointment that my plan did not work out, I was determined to create a home and life that was filled with happiness for my family.
Once my daughter was born, my husband’s job had slowed down, I had started making friends and we were creating a life that I thought looked like forever. You see, I moved every two years growing up, I did not know stability or planting roots and staying in one place. This was all new to me but it felt good, it felt right. My children were everything to me. They started school and I was a part of every function, sporting event, play date and school activity. I over compensated to make up for what I never had. All the while still drinking.
Once my children got older I decided to begin a new career in front of the camera. This was incredibly hard for me because of my very low self esteem. I began drinking before auditions, this was my slippery slope. I began drinking at lunch and always in the evening with dinner. I was still there for my children but everything I did was around my next drink. When my drinking elevated, I became less tolerable, I had started peri-menopause and my emotions were off the charts. But, I always had my fall back and that was my glass of wine.
My children were 10 and 12 when I finally hit rock bottom, my drinking was at an all time high but thankfully they only saw mom with the wine in her hand often, not a fall down drunk. Making a decision to put down the drink was the hardest decision I had ever made, all I knew was drinking and now I’m never going to drink again? How would I cope? But I knew I had to for myself and my family or I was going to lose the only people in my life that truly meant the world to me.
So, I shared with my husband that I was an alcoholic and he embraced me. Identifying myself as an alcoholic was hard because mom was a fall down drunk, in jail and sober houses. That wasn’t me so how could I call myself an alcoholic? Well, I learned that if alcohol is affecting your life negatively then it is a big problem. I went to a 12 step program and never looked back.
The 12 step program was the healing I never had. It has allowed me to grow spiritually, turn my life over to God, break down the walls and generational cycles. I am proud to say I just recently celebrated 6 years of sobriety. The ultimate gift was learning to love myself which has allowed me to have the deepest relationships with my husband and children. Life today is lived in joy and is a gift.
Once my mind cleared and I was healing, God guided me to launch my talk show, Wake Up with Marci
, a show of inspiration in the Tri-State area on CBS owned WLNY-TV 10/55 and nationally on Amazon, Hulu Live and YouTube TV, and podcast platforms every Saturday morning at 10am est. My mission is to give the gift of healing and happiness through others’ triumphant stories. Every Saturday I share stories of hope, celebrity inspiration, education and resources with industry leaders. We are all faced with hardships but what do we do to move through it? I want to help you know you are not alone. Wake Up provides insight as to how you can conquer life, shift your mindset, live in joy and equips you with the tools to do it.
I have recently written a memoir/self help book, Chaos to Clarity, Seeing the Signs and Breaking the Cycles. My book paves a new path in recovery with an educational approach for the reader to learn how to see the signs and break the cycles in their own life. It is a guide for healing from your past, making amends in relationships, walking in faith, and creating your most fulfilling life. This was a truly cathartic experience and has helped me to further my healing and be a better mom. I now have patience, I encourage my children to be the best they can be and the best is I am truly present.
I share my story to help you know that if you are thinking maybe your drinking has gotten to be too much or affecting your life, there is so much help. Educate yourself and discover all of the help available for Alcohol Use Disorder. Yes, AUD, this is a spectrum and we are all at different places. I want to encourage you to do some deep reflection, take it from me, healing from your trauma and putting down the drink has been the greatest gift I have given myself. Your happiest life is awaiting you, I am living proof it is possible.
MARCI HOPKINS is an award-winning TV Personality; host, show creator and executive producer of “Wake Up with Marci.” When Marci’s not hosting her show, the mother-of-two devotes much of her time to giving back to her community. She supports the Kumali Organization for orphans in Uganda, Africa, Ambassador of Survivor Corps, helping to match Covid-19 survivors with those that are sick and assisting in finding an immunization, and is on the board of the YWCA, dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
Marci has been voted Media Mompreneur of the Year, by New Jersey Family Magazine, and featured on CBS New York; PEOPLE en Espanol; Latina Magazine; 201 Magazine; News 12 NJ; 201 Magazine, New Jersey Family Magazine, The Bergen Record, BOLD Global and other leading outlets. A native of Texas, Marci started her career at Fox Cable Group, where she served in multiple roles and quickly climbed the corporate ladder, ultimately becoming the Director of On-Air Promotions for FX Network in Los angeles. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn