There’s a lot of hope behind the guitar strummed by Zach Hopkins during Sunday morning worship at his church. And like the music he plays, there is also a lot of redemption.
Early on, life seemed to be fairly normal for Zach. He played sports, had parents that loved him and spent his weekends hanging out with his closest friends. At 11-years-old he started using marijuana. Fast forward to when he was 15-years-old, he would be the driver in a car accident that would claim the life of his friend. The next day the pain overcame his life as he began his journey with addiction.
“The next day I tried oxycontin for the first time. It was December 22, 2006, and pretty much never stopped until I came to treatment, went to jail, or unless I was forced to.”
That first-day using oxycontin was the first day Zach says his life began to unravel all around him. Living homeless in Nicholasville, Zach took a trip to Wal-Mart where he would purchase 700 sleeping pills, took 120 of them, and overdosed spending his next few days strapped to a hospital bed.
“I woke up in the ICU. I was on a ventilator and strapped down to a bed. I didn't know who I was, how I got there -- nothing,” Hopkins added. “Suddenly it all came back to me at once. A woman asked if I knew how I got there. She said I tried to kill myself.”
Zach would later be court-ordered to enter an addiction treatment program. The idea of coming to Addiction Recovery Care (ARC), a faith-based treatment program, was actually the one type of program he was not interested in. However, he was forced and arrived at Ashland's Sanibel House in handcuffs and hand-delivered by the local sheriff’s department.
“At first I didn't really know what to think,” said Zach. “Everyone was being so nice and once I did my intake and walked up to the house a nurse came up to me and she was like, ‘So what are your issues?’ Asking what kind of drugs I did. I told her opiates and speed were my problem. She said ‘Well that’s okay. That is a lot of our problems, I understand. We are going to love you back to life.’ I was like ‘Love me? You don't love someone like me.’”
Zach would later spend the next many months in recovery with people he thought never existed -- people just like him. He would also discover who Christ is and how his story is just beginning.
He now works within ARC’s project and development team. While he loves his new calling, he says standing behind his guitar on stage Sunday mornings are the moments he realizes he can finally use his new life mixed with his talent to lead others to a relationship with Jesus Christ.
“There is nothing in the world like when you are playing and people are worshipping God and he is using you for a vessel in that.”
Zach now has a home, a job, a fiancee and a child. All aspects of life he never thought he would see. Zach says his message to others looking for help is simple, find help and get loved back to life just like he did.