Sobriety in a Bottle

Is Prometa the greatest innovation in addiction treatment history or 21st-century snake oil?

Briggs had his first injection January 11. He purposely scheduled the first day of treatment on a Friday so he wouldn't miss more than a day of work.

And sure enough, after becoming the seventh Prometa patient at Canterbury, he was back at work Monday morning.

After his first injection, he sat on one of the plush couches in the recovery room and gazed out the tall windows, where he could see the ocean in the distance.

Jody Briggs in the recovery room at Canterbury, where patients say they feel their brain chemistry change
C. STILES
Jody Briggs in the recovery room at Canterbury, where patients say they feel their brain chemistry change
Mike Briggs sits in the chair where he received his injections of flumazenil.
C. STILES
Mike Briggs sits in the chair where he received his injections of flumazenil.

"It's hard to explain," he says. "My brain just felt different."

Briggs returned the next two days for the same treatment. Each day, he felt better than the day before. He hasn't had a drink since. But if he did relapse, Jody explains, Canterbury would re-treat him for free. "We don't want people walking around saying this doesn't work."

For Briggs, Prometa ended his insane arithmetic. "All those times I was thinking about how I could drink and how much I had to drink to feel better without going over, I knew it wouldn't work," he says. "But I kept doing the math. I kept trying. That's the insanity of addiction — knowing what will happen but not being able to think rationally about what you're doing.

"But with this," he says, "I can actually think clearly."

Whether it's folded GABA receptors changing shape in his brain or something else, Briggs says he doesn't care.

"I'm a different person than I was before I had the shot," he says. "I can see the difference. "

Jody points to her husband with both hands. She watches him, still amazed at how much he's changed in the months since he began treatment.

"Look at him," she says. "It works."

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