Sanaa Lathan quit drinking three years ago because it was ‘dimming my energy’

"I didn't feel as good. It was affecting anxiety," Lathan said.

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Sanaa Lathan has been sober for three years and cited her energy being drained as a big reason why she stopped drinking.

The veteran Hollywood actress who is beloved for roles in The Best Man and Love & Basketball, is profiled in the latest issue of PEOPLE magazine and spoke about her decision to stop drinking. The 49-year-old star of Netflix’s upcoming Hit & Run wanted to prioritize her mental and physical wellbeing.

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Sanaa Lathan attends Step Up’s 14th annual Inspiration Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on June 1, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

“I stopped drinking about three years ago,” Lathan said. “Alcohol was not going well with me physically. Just, it was not working anymore. It affects everything, and that’s part of the reason why I stopped, because even if you’re going out a couple of times a week and you’re drinking, it was starting to affect me throughout the week. It wouldn’t be necessarily a hangover, but it definitely dimmed my energy. I didn’t feel as good. It was affecting anxiety.”

Lathan added that she sought to educate herself on drinking and its effects including “You don’t realize how over time it gets your brain out of balance as well.”

The award-winning actress had to deconstruct the idea that a person could only have fun with alcohol.

“I had to really reprogram that aspect, because it’s just all over in our culture. So, I haven’t missed it. My life has definitely become more of a morning life, but I can still go out and have fun.”

Lathan credited her mother Eleanor McCoy for introducing her to meditation for her healing in addition to journaling. The practices became even more necessary after Lathan experienced the sudden death of her best friend.

“I grew up with a mother who taught me about meditation so, I did it on and off,” she said. “The reason why I came to this practice was several years ago, I went through a lot of trauma. I had a best friend who died suddenly. She was not sick. It was completely unexpected. I didn’t process it. I was in a shock type of situation.”

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Actress Sanaa Lathan attends HBO’s “Native Son” screening at Guggenheim Museum on April 1, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for HBO)

Lathan shared that she didn’t process the death of her best friend which led to panic attacks. Her doctors told Lathan that her body was reacting to the trauma and recommended medication and holistic treatments.

“And he was like, ‘There’s medications, but you can try holistic things first.’ And I always tend to do the holistic thing first, before I go a traditional route. So I started [meditating], and as soon as I started, they went away. There’s so many benefits. And so, I’m a huge believer, a huge advocate.”

Lathan is now in a much healthier space in her life and busier than ever in her 25-year career. She will be making her directorial debut with On the Come Up, the adaptation of Angie ThomasNew York Times best-selling novel.

Lathan will also be seen in HBO’s hit series Succession, playing the character of Lisa Arthur, “a high-profile and well-connected New York lawyer” for season 3 which returns this fall.

Lathan is currently on the promotional trail for Netflix’s Hit & Run where she plays a Black Jewish journalist Naomi.

Hit & Run premieres Friday and she told PEOPLE of feeling “really blessed to be on this journey, as challenging as it’s been, of being an artist in this business.”

However, she has not taken any of her success for granted.

“Yes, it has been tough at times. There’ve been times where I have wanted to give up, and yet, I am so incredibly grateful for just to be able to continue to tell these stories and do what I love.”

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