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My Methadone Doctor Called Me His Miracle Patient

Updated on June 21, 2012

Hank's Pics through the years

This is 60 tonnes of drugs being burned in Afghanistan
This is 60 tonnes of drugs being burned in Afghanistan | Source
Being treated like a King
Being treated like a King
Feeling horrible
Feeling horrible
Me in Israel with my stash all around me, plus my cute little Israeli pussy cat
Me in Israel with my stash all around me, plus my cute little Israeli pussy cat | Source
Me guarding the Galilea in 1980
Me guarding the Galilea in 1980

My Methadone Story

I thought I would write this for anyone struggling with methadone addiction, or even heroin addiction. My doctor used to call me his miracle patient and I would think he was nuts for saying it, but I was too busy trying to live my life and end my addiction to heavy narcotics that went on way too long. That was 1996 and it is now 2010, my addiction started, of course with pot, but that, I still believe is not a valid excuse for me going onwards, but did play a big role, I have to admit, as it is so nice to get high. Anyone who drinks alcohol will agree with that statement, so is easy to understand.

After pot I was asked to go to Bolivia with a friend, story of which can be seen at my website called Smuggling With Jesus. There I got into cocaine heavily, living with smugglers from all over the world, who would snort it morning, noon and night. Later we all rented a house in the infamous city of Pablo Escobar, and if I met him or any of his henchmen I was too oblivious to notice at the time. One funny guy woke one morning, while I was having coffee served by the maid making it in a sock that maybe was her own but didn't matter because it was so delicious. Arturo announce that he just blew his nose and a shoe came flying out, that's how much cocaine these people snorted. I was just starting and never had shoes to contend with but did manage to amass a pretty good addiction nevertheless.

Graduating To Heroin

That cocaine lifestyle lasted until 1980 when my friend died a very mysterious death, some say an Act Of God, but being his partner I think it was more than just that. I am writing a book about it and you can read the whole story if and when it comes out. After his death I was introduced to someone who was smuggling heroin from Chiang Mai, Thailand on the Golden Triangle border in the north of Thailand. He only asked me at first to drive him to the airport as I was a taxi driver at the time. When he came back I picked him up again as he came out the airport door, but this time with his ass stuffed with heroin. I asked to sell a few grams and he said Okay. I knew a few addicts so it didn't take that long to sell the stuff, and I returned a few days later with the cash for him. He couldn't believe it and I asked why, he responded by saying "everyone he knows would have only made a tenth of the money because they were addicts and needed most of it for themselves. But I didn't use the stuff and I guess could keep all the profits.

He immediately wanted me as a partner and asked me to come along on the next trip to Thailand. Like the idiot I was with Bolivia, you would think I learned a lesson from that and would answer "screw you buddy"! But I didn't and instead answered yes sure when do you go? He said in a few weeks, which we did. This time I was nervous as a wreck as heroin was a much more sinister drug than cocaine to me, and Bangkok in those days was a very dangerous hot spot for drugs. Landing at the airport says it all, the big sign behind the customs booths reads like this: Warning anyone attempting to import or export in to or out of the Kingdom of Thailand hashish or heroin the penalty is death for domestic and 35 years for foreigners. I took one look at the sign and was ready to turn around and run, as my knees were getting wobbly at the sight of it.

We got into the country easy enough, finding the heroin from someone that was safe and secure was a different story, and leaving the country was even more scary than anywhere that I have seen in all my extensive travels. The Thais check everyone leaving the country for drugs, examining all carry ons and checked baggage with x-ray machines. The only way to get heroin out of that country at that time was to put it up ones rectum, which we did. This began a long career of heroin smuggling and also heroin addiction which needed to be addressed a decade later by being put on methadone for five years to get the taste of heroin completely out of my system.

Once the taste is gone and all that is left to deal with was the addiction to methadone, I began the gradual withdrawal process. I started at 90 milligrams and reduced by ten every two months. At the end of one year I was now down to 30 milligrams and started to reduce by only five each three months until I was down to 15. Then I would reduce by only two milligrams every 3 months until I was down to only two milligrams a day. The whole process took well over a year and a half or more, but that was my plan and I stuck to it. When I was down to only two I kept it like that for many months until I was psyched up enough to go somewhere and finish it off.

I had an old friend who was an addict and attempted to smuggle heroin back to Canada, only to have it break inside his stomach while on the airplane and almost died. He was taken to jail in the US when the plane landed but was allowed eventually to be exchanged to a prison in Canada. He turned his life around and opened a business to help addicts get the help they needed to quit. So I called him and he arranged a rehab in Tijuana Mexico which was run by three guys from San Diego who never paid their bills.Not knowing this I bought a ticket to San Diego where someone from the rehab in Tijuana picked me up, took me across the border into sunny Mexico and checked me in. I was supposed to stay the term of 30 days for treatment but after 12 days the nurses, who never got paid and were only doing it from their hearts finally quit to pay their own bills at home. The head doctor who also was doing it from her heart and was a cancer doctor at a local cancer hospital took me there as I was the only patient left. I stayed for a few days but the sight of all the patients dieing of cancer made me want to leave. I promised the doctor I would be Okay even though I did not get the 30 days of treatment. I flew home to Vancouver, Canada to see my wife and 3 year old little boy. We were living in a giant house on five acres of land with three horses in the back and an indoor pool. Our modeling school made enough money to support all this and that was all the inspiration for me to keep from starting on drugs again. Every second of the day I would crave some kind of narcotic and did not have a real sleep for the next NINE months!

I would continue to see my methadone doctor every week for fifteen minutes, who would say "your my miracle patient". Later I would find out that he never had any patients to actually quit and if they did, would be back on within days of any rehabilitation treatment. Even in my own circle of friends who were addicts, NOT ONE was in the same boat as me, either they were dead or they were on heroin or methadone for life. So his claim that I was his miracle patient was real and I am glad he kept saying it so it would stick in my mind long enough to realize what he meant by it. So if you are seeking to come off methadone and want a real chance at it, please follow my formula stated above. It does take a long time but is the only way to do it in my opinion because it allows your body to adjust without you knowing and having no withdrawal symptoms. If you need to contact me for support you can email me from this Hub Page. Thanks for reading this and good luck, it is not an easy thing to do.


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    • hankcooper profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Glace Bay, Cape Breton, Canada

      Thanks for your comment and I just had a discussion last night with my cousin. Being in a position of using massive amounts in the past I felt like I had some sort of brain cell death. But my memory, over the decade of being drug free is now better than ever, so maybe there is a regenerative effect happening. I don't know only my own case is what I can go by, but will power is the biggest factor I believe.

    • profile image

      MARS Project 

      7 years ago

      As a MAT patient and recovery advocate it is gratifying to see someone tell it like it really is. Being medication free is a huge challenge and those who make it are miracles. I am glad to see that a relationship with the MAT MD was maintained so that reentry to treatment if neccessary can occur seemlessly and without guilt. Everyone should remember that whether a taper is successful has more to do with how damaged the brain is rather then how much support or willpower someone has.


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