'Prayer keeps me off the booze' says reformed hellraiser Sir Anthony Hopkins
FORMER Hollywood hellraiser Anthony Hopkins has revealed how prayer keeps him off the booze.
The Oscar winner from Port Talbot said he was going mad in the 1970s when he saw visions of Christ.
God, he said, got him out of his alcoholic "horror" and he still says the Serenity Prayer — used by groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous — to stay sober.
The 75-year-old son of a Taibach baker has been married three times and had a history of alcohol abuse, though he has been sober since 1975.
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He said of his drinking: "I thought it was just the thing you did, drink and get smashed.
''I thought everyone did that.
"You have to have a bit of trouble in your life or you're not very interesting," he added.
In 1992 he won the best actor Oscar for his role as psychopathic killer Hannibal Lecter, returning to the role in two sequels.
Today he is happily married, living in the US and widely regarded as one of the world's greatest actors.
He's also a journalist's dream, never afraid to speak his mind and invariably coming up with memorable quotes.
Now, in characteristically eloquent style, he has spoken of the dramatic time he quit drinking.
"I was in Hollywood in the early mid-70s going mad," he said.
"I was seeing visions of Christ walking down the beach by the Pacific coast.
"I was drinking tequila like water, hallucinating, it was all coming to the end. I was in hell.
"Then it was over. It was like a great pilot light was lit.
''No explanation, except, I guess, I was open, willing and ready.
"I believe my higher power, God, got me out."
Former alcoholic Clancy Imislund, who helps homeless people in Los Angeles battle their addictions, recalled helping Sir Anthony in the 1970s, when the actor was coming to terms with life without drink.
"I knew he was an actor but he wasn't as big then as he is now," said the 83-year-old.
"I'd just been straight a lot longer than him and decided I'd teach him the little technical things to help you get through the problems of everyday life without wanting to take a swig of the strong stuff."
Imislund advised Sir Anthony to overcome his alcohol addiction by learning to help others.
It's advice the actor obviously took to heart.
He regularly gives acting lessons to the homeless in Los Angeles, and serves food and hands out Christmas presents to children at LA's Midnight Mission homeless charity.
Sir Anthony and wife Stella were honoured for their work there three years ago.
The star said: "I could have been homeless.
''I could have been on skid row.
"But fortunately for me I found a way out, and I've had a great, blessed life,'' he said.
"And the people, this mission, gives back so much hope to people."