Marci Hopkins knows first-hand how to turn tragedy into triumph. After an unfortunate evening resulted in a DUI, Marci had a God moment that helped her confront her issues with alcohol stemming from years of childhood abuse. Today, Marci is not only an accomplished author, but the host of Wake Up With Marci, a top-rated show that encourages others to wake up to life’s blessings. Here’s her story.
Marci, I know that dragonflies are symbolic for you. How so?
I’ve had a lot of God moments, and this was one of the most significant ones for me. We had moved to this house about five years ago, and I was sitting out by the pool and there were dragonflies touching down by the water. I looked up, and there were hundreds of dragonflies bouncing around. It was so magical, and I knew that we were doing the right thing by moving here, and that we were moving in the right direction.
Dragonflies are all about transformation, and looking at the inside, which is what I had been doing. I felt it was God saying, “You’re doing the right thing.” We had been living across the street, and that’s where life kind of fell apart, so this is where we started over.
How did it fall apart?
I will celebrate 7 years of sobriety on October 4th. Drinking was a huge part of me coping throughout my life because I had mental, physical, and sexual abuse in my younger years. My parents were alcoholics, so it was just what I knew. When I found alcohol, it was an escape, and I had only seen that you drink every day, so it became normal. My life started changing and I was able to heal so much from the pain and scars that I had been pushing down for so long.
When does that shift happen? How do you know?
It’s a long road. You start realizing that you’re going down a slippery slope; you can identify something isn’t going well. I had a victim mindset, so I would shift that and put it off on my husband or my life, and it was always somebody else’s fault for why I was doing what I was doing. When I was 40, I decided to go after a lifelong dream of being a model. I went after commercial print modeling, and I was terrified. I realize now that I had no self-esteem, no self-love, but I chose a career where I was going to be judged all the time. So I started bringing my liquid courage, which was wine, and I’d think, “Well, maybe I’ll have a glass of wine before my audition.” It escalated from there, and by the end of my drinking, my husband and I had a terrible relationship. He was asking me to get healthy, because when someone is deep in addiction, you can’t tell them, and if you do, they become resentful.
At the end, I was drinking an extreme amount, and I had gone to a modeling job. I told myself that I wasn’t going to drink, that I could do it on my own. But then I realized I was at the wrong mall for the fashion show. So between the stress of trying to get there for my call time, I was in a panic and hungover, so you’re not responding to anything with a full mind. I drank my liquid courage on the way there, then went out with a girlfriend after, and drank to a point of a black out. I got behind the wheel of a car without realizing it and got a DUI.
The next morning, I had that realization, but I had been knowing that something was wrong and that I had to do something. I wanted to do anything but AA, because the idea of not drinking again was so foreign to me, and I couldn’t think that I could give it up. To say that you’re an alcoholic is difficult, to surrender to it. I went downstairs and admitted to my husband that I was an alcoholic, and he could have ran the other way but he ended up embracing me and that was the first time I felt loved. It was like the weight of the world came off my shoulders, because there was no more lying.
It was the first time you let love in.
Well, that’s the thing because you don’t know how to love. When you’re sexually abused, love looks very different. You always think that you’re being used in some way. But I think that the only way you can heal is through your truth. God has set me on a path to help others.
Let’s talk about your show and it facilitates that.
I had originally come up with a social media talk show called “Coffee with Marci” and that’s where I was interviewing entrepreneurs and I was doing that for a year. But I wanted to do more because I had found such an incredible place in my life. I was becoming more spiritually connected and I’m finding joy in my life that I never thought possible. The relationship with my husband was healing; I was healing too on my layers. I’ve done a lot of introspective work. You have to heal yourself to be the best person for someone else. I was able to break those generational cycles of alcohol, screaming, reaction to everything, and be present in my own life for my husband, children, and myself. It’s not easy work, but when I went through the 12-step program, I worked those steps. I went in deep. You build up these walls in life that you must break down. That was happening for me. It’s always a healing journey. And once I learned my accountability, things really started changing.
It’s funny because I had no experience interviewing people. I never knew who I was, but I began to discover who I was because I was always trying to be something to someone else. I was doing the show, but I wanted to do more; I wanted to help people. God was helping me because I was talking to my producer who was trying to get another show on a network and I was on the phone with him and I said, “I want to do that, too.” And then I thought, Wake Up With Marci. Wake up your subconscious. That’s what I’m doing. I swear to you, in two weeks, I had that show. I wanted to share hardships and triumphs, to share hope through other people’s stories.
How long has Wake Up With Marci been on now?
It’s been 3 ½ years old. It was growing and I wanted to really be in NY and NJ. I wanted it to be regional. My husband works for CBS so the gentleman who ran WLNY network I had met, and I asked him for feedback on my show. He told me he wanted to carry the show, and so I launched on WLNY and that was three years ago. I continue to grow and have an incredible team. What I want out of my show and my life, is now bringing me those like-minded people. We’re all aligned in terms of where the show is going to go, and I continue to help people. And now with my book, it’s truly an extension of my desire to help people.
What was the process like of writing the book?
It was an extremely cathartic process. . My book is about my recovery journey but it’s also for those who want to break negative cycles in their lives, or those who want to create mindset shifts who want to move from a negative place to positive place. There are prompts for you to work on yourself, and even though my story is different from your story, it can get your thoughts flowing to help you heal wherever you’re at.
I never thought in a million years this would be something that I would accomplish. It’s really believing and turning yourself over and doing the work. That’s why life today is an accomplishment beyond my wildest dreams. And that’s why I know that anyone can have this life.