Sir Anthony Hopkins has marked 47 years sober by offering encouragement to others struggling with addiction.
The Oscar-winning actor, 82, has previously opened up about the “wake-up call” he had when he was 37.
Speaking in a heartfelt video message on Thursday (29 December), Hopkins shared his own message of support for people struggling alcoholism, that he hopes will be “helpful” to others.
“Hello, everyone. I just wanna wish everyone a Happy New Year.”
“‘And also to say, I’m celebrating 47 years today of sobriety. But this is a message not meant to be heavy, but I hope helpful.”
The Silence of the Lambs actor continued: “I am a recovering alcoholic and to you out there, I know there are people struggling, in this day and age of cancel and hatred and non-compromise, children being bullied, I say to this: be kind to yourself.
“Be kind. Stay out of the circle of toxicity with people if they offend you. Live your life, be proud of your life.”
Hopkins recalled his “desperate situation” 47 years ago, describing himself as in a state of “despair” at the time with “probably not long to live”.
“I just happened to acknowledge one day that there was something really wrong with me,” he said.
He explained that he wasn’t aware that addiction was a “condition” or that he was battling with a “mental, physical, emotional condition called alcoholism”.
Hopkins continued: “I’m not an expert on drugs, I’m not an expert on anything, I know nothing, except I have found a life where no one bullies me.”
He described that depression is often a “part of life” but urged his followers to recognise that there is support available to them, highlighting different resources for people struggling with addiction.
“Talk to someone you respect. Whether it’s a counsellor or to go to a 12-step programme. There are 12-step programmes all over the world, every city, every community. They can help you identify what you are and it doesn’t cost a thing, but it will give you a whole new life,” he said.
“I’m not a do-gooder, I’m an old sinner like everyone, but all I can say is I have the best life I can even imagine, and I can’t even take credit for it.”
“So, wherever you are, get help. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t let anyone put you down,” he concluded. “Celebrate yourself, although I know nothing, lots of love to you all.”
In 2021, Hopkins was named best actor at the Academy Awards for his role in The Father, making him the oldest ever Oscar-winner.
Hopkins first won acclaim after playing cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1991.
If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol addiction, you can confidentially call the national alcohol helpline Drinkline on 0300 123 1110 or visit the NHS website here for information about the programmes available to you.
If you have been affected by this article, you can contact the following organisations for support: actiononaddiction.org.uk, mind.org.uk, nhs.uk/livewell/mentalhealth, mentalhealth.org.uk.