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February 7, 2023

Vikki’s Path to Sobriety at the Treatment & Research In Psychedelics (TRIP) Program

by Amelia Garrison

After years of unsuccessful therapy, Vikki transformed her life for the better with psychedelic-assisted therapy at PNI’s Pacific Treatment & Research In Psychedelics (TRIP). Learn more about her journey toward healing.

For many, alcohol consumption is a regular part of life. Drinking at celebrations or toasting the New Year, is deeply embedded in social culture and difficult to reject without raising eyebrows. However, drinking alcohol regularly can pose serious health issues, including addiction. This was the case for Vikki, a sixty-year-old living in Santa Monica.

Vikki and her husband in Santa Monica, CA

Growing up in a family that entertained frequently, alcohol consumption was the focal point of social gatherings. Whenever Vikki gathered with friends or family, alcohol was the main event; oftentimes the reason to get together in the first place. ‘Fun’ became associated with alcohol. She began drinking in her teens, and never stopped to question the long-term health implications of it until about eight years ago.

“I wasn’t so much thinking about the health part of drinking, but rather the lifestyle of it. The first thing that popped into my head when getting together with friends was ‘get your drink!’ and I began to question why is it that alcohol takes precedence over a connection and truly living in the moment,” she explained.

Determined to make a lifestyle shift, Vikki enrolled in psychotherapy to little avail. She made progress, but not enough to seriously change her relationship with alcohol. When she heard a radio advertisement for alcohol treatment with PNI’s Pacific Treatment & Research In Psychedelics (TRIP) program, her life changed forever.

“I had been to regular psychology talk therapy for several years. It helped me a little bit, but it didn’t make me better. When I heard the advertisement, I thought, ‘That’s for me. That’s what’s going to help me,’ and that’s what happened. It’s so difficult to change your brain, and what I did in five and a half hours changed my brain.”

Over the course of several sessions, Vikki met with Keith Heinzerling, MD, director of the TRIP program, and Karina Sergei, MS, MFT, the TRIP guide, for preparation and integration sessions supporting the two separate guided psychedelic therapy days. Now a year later, Vikki is sober and living each day more grateful and appreciative than the last. 

“There are so many benefits I am experiencing. I don’t crave alcohol, I’m smarter, and I have relentless curiosity,” Vikki explained. “I’m calmer and appreciate nature even more than I did before. Life is brighter, and I am being kind to myself and listening to my brain.”

More information:

Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy: 310-582-7612

About Dr. Keith Heinzerling

Keith Heinzerling, MD

Keith Heinzerling, MD, practices internal medicine and is an addiction medicine specialist at the Pacific Brain Health Center, Pacific Neuroscience Institute. His clinical and research focuses are on the treatment of alcohol, drug, and substance use problems, with anti-addiction medications. As director of the Treatment & Research In Psychedelics (TRIP) program, he is involved in the development of psychedelic-assisted therapies for those suffering from addiction, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

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About the Author

Amelia Garrison MPhil

Amelia Garrison

Amelia Garrison is the Marketing Specialist at Pacific Neuroscience Institute (PNI). Well versed in community outreach strategy and implementation, she leads the PNI blog, newsletter, and digital communications. Amelia oversees PNI's reputation management and community sponsorships.

Last updated: February 9th, 2023