The day I started taking an antidepressant, I had no choice but to be sober curious.
“You can’t drink on this medication,” my doctor’s medical assistant said, as he escorted me out of her office. I heard him, but I didn’t really believe him.
“Do not consume alcohol while taking this prescription,” the pharmacist instructed me over the drive-through callbox. Again, I heard her, but I remained skeptical.
Once, I got home, I read the instructions for my new med throughly. Sure enough, there it was—more guidelines directing me to avoid alcohol. So, I did what any hard-headed, independent-minded woman does. I Googled.
During my research, I encountered more warnings cautioning people taking an antidepressant to not consume alcohol. To my surprise, I also learned I couldn’t consume cannabis while taking it either. Shit.
Up until that day, I was an avid consumer of both—pot more so than wine. Now, I was forced to accept the inevitable. If I wanted to battle my depression and really give my antidepressant a chance to work, I had to be sober curious. It was the most logical and responsible thing I could do.
So, I did it. I became sober curious. I still am.
What is sober curious?
While sobriety is a life-or-death solution addicts have to implement, being sober curious is for those of us who are not suffering from addiction. It’s simply a conscious decision we make purely based on wellness.
Fentimans is a botanically brewed line of non-alcoholic beverages. According to the brand, there is a growing number of sober curious people cutting alcohol out of their lives.
“Particularly after living through a pandemic, many of us are taking our wellbeing more seriously and eliminating things from our lives that may compromise our immune systems and general health,” the brand states, adding, “Plus, there are more non-alcoholic drink options available than there once was, helping encourage sobriety without making it difficult or unenjoyable.”
My Antidepressant and Sobriety
Like I reported earlier, getting on an antidepressant forced me into a sober lifestyle. Combining the medication along with alcohol or cannabis consumption can lead to heavy drowsiness or worse.
Being single, I live alone and conduct most of my life’s activities alone, including traveling, socializing, and just going out and about. A sudden onset of heavy drowsiness could be dangerous for me. I have no one but me to look out for me. This is why I think giving up drinking and pot just makes sense.
Here’s why I remain sober curious.
It has been less than two months since I became sober curious, and here is what has struck me the most. I have reached a level of clarity that, one, I didn’t know existed, and two, I didn’t know I needed.
I’m floored. I have always been someone who has it together. It never occurred to me I could actually improve my mental and spiritual clarity simply by becoming sober curious. The fact that there was room for improvement was something I had not considered.
The combination of this newfound clarity and my antidepressant, along with the B12 supplement I am now taking (my doctor’s other medical assistant said it would help with my triglycerides and depression), my overall wellness has vastly improved.
My mind is clear, and my self awareness is sharper. I am more energized, focused, and determined than I was just a few months ago. Additionally, I still feel all the emotions (many on antidepressants complain about a zombie-like state of being), yet I am in very much control of them. My emotions exist, but they don’t impede my day or goals.
Alcohol and cannabis made things worse.
After conducting some lab work, I learned my depression is not physiological. My hormones are leveled, and my thyroid is healthy. This means that I won’t be on my antidepressant forever, or for very much longer.
When the day comes that I get off my medication, under my doctor’s guidance, of course, I plan to remain sober curious. The clarity alone has me encouraged to do so.
Keep in mind that alcohol is a depressant. For me, drinking and smoking pot feels good in the moment. However, they actually make my depression worse. Dave Marlon, CEO of CrossRoads of Southern NV explains why.
“Alcohol lowers brain chemicals that nerve cells produce such as serotonin and norepinephrine levels,” he says, adding, “Alcohol also temporarily cuts off the effects of stress hormones. This can make depression symptoms more acute.”
Know that serotonin is the chemical that generates feelings of well-being, while norepinephrine is related to alertness and energy. By drinking alcohol, I was hindering the production of both. Yikes.
Are you curious about being sober curious?
“Getting clean and sober is almost always a good idea,” advises Marlon. “Alcohol is a toxin and kills brain cells and hurts the brain and the body.”
If you’re considering adopting a sober curious lifestyle, here are some tips from Fentimans.
- If you want to join your friends at the pub, suggest going somewhere you know has great non-alcoholic or mocktail options. You can buy craft-style sodas with natural ingredients and unique flavors, or botanical mixers that can be enjoyed on their own. Check out menus online to see what you can sip on while staying social with your friends.
- Take up a new hobby in something that interests you, like sports or crafts. Here, you might find like-minded individuals who will be up for hanging out without the addition of alcohol.
- You’ll find that your weekends will seem longer and that you have more free time, so focusing on yourself and your personal development are great ways to make the most of these newfound sober perks.
For more information on Fentimans, go to the brand’s website at Fentimans.com.