Eyewitness
Looking Ahead
09 March 2007

450heroinrachaelsstory

Rachael Keogh has an incredible story to tell. From the depths of despair and a battle with addiction to heroin, to the pages of glossy magazines and a very public battle with authorities to get help for her drug dependency.

Watch "My Heroin Hell: Rachael's Story" on Sky News: Saturday March 10 at 2pm and 9pm, and on Sunday March 11 at 3pm

Here Rachael writes for The Sky News Insider Blog:

My journey so far has been truly amazing. So much has changed in such a short space of time that my life sometimes seems surreal, but in the same breath I have never felt so grounded and fulfilled.

Dragging myself out of fourteen years of active addiction and a sub-human existence has given me great confidence and faith in my own abilities.

I feel I can do anything I put my mind to. The last couple of years have been a living nightmare but I have absolutely no regrets and I genuinely wouldn’t change a thing.

Some people might find this difficult to understand but in coming so close to death and almost losing my arms I sincerely appreciate my life and the freedom I now have from drugs.

My arms are no longer open wounds. They have healed very well but will still need extensive plastic surgery.
I am hoping a doctor out there who learns about my plight may someday come forward and volunteer to work on my arms. It would be a wonderful gift.

The summer is coming and I would love to wear short sleeves again.

Everyday is a stark reminder of how out of control my addiction to drugs has been which naturally saddens me, but at the moment I’m just happy I still have my arms.

I hope I never forget where I’ve come from because my experiences are what make me who I am right now, if nothing else I have a lot of character and an interesting tale to tell.

It’s still only early days in my recovery and I am getting all the support I can.

I am in the process of finishing my second phase of treatment which has been really beneficial to me but the real work begins when my treatment is complete.

Learning to live without drugs after being dependent on them for so long is like being a baby again and the need to learn everything from scratch can be difficult. I’m taking things as slowly as possible.

I’m extremely positive and excited about the future and the possibilities that are open to me. There are a lot of things I want to do.  I have applied for college in September to study psychology and politics which I’m really passionate about.

I am also in the process of writing my own book based on my life experiences which in itself is healing and reconciling a lot of wounds.

After the documentary is aired I would like to meet some publishers in Britain and Europe as I would like my book to be published and made available in as many countries as possible.

There is such a huge stigma attached to drug addicts but I want to try and create as much awareness as possible and to prevent the problem from always being swept under the carpet.

I am hoping to meet with the Irish Minister for Health Mary Harney. I wrote to her in August 2006 and as of yet she still hasn’t replied.

I would like to have my own website which would be updated regularly. It’s for anyone who has been affected by drugs and will have a forum where I can give as much advice as possible to addicts and their families.

Then there is the issue of politics, I want to become a spokesperson for drugs in Ireland. This is something I am very passionate about and I would like to give something back, I know I would be good at this.

I am looking forward to so many things in the future but I’m even more content with how things are going right now.

The level of support and response to my plea for help has been unbelievable which I’m eternally grateful for – it’s something I will never forget.

I’m even more grateful to those who doubted me because in times when I struggled to get off drugs and stay off them, I used those people who insisted I wouldn’t get clean as an incentive to push me to where I am now.

I feel really blessed to have the opportunity to share my experiences with people and if nothing else my story might have touched someone who is still suffering from addiction and give them the courage to become drug-free.

I was convinced I was destined to die from drugs yet I’m still here in one piece with everything to look forward to.

If I can do it anyone can.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this.
Rachael Keogh xx

Watch "My Heroin Hell: Rachael's Story" on Sky News: Saturday March 10 at 2pm and 9pm, and on Sunday March 11 at 3pm

Written by Eyewitness, 09 March 2007

Comments

hiya rachel cindy lawlor here jus wana say im proud of ya girl fair play to u xxxxxxxxxxxxx


Hi Rachel, Came across your story and was absolutely thrilled at how much progress you have made. You may not remember us but we were part of the small group who visited Ballymun on a regular basis to Sandyhill basements for the Bible Club (1988 - 1997). It has been so long and we have all gone in different directions since, but it was so great to hear your story and you are forever in our thoughts and prayers. God bless.


Hi Rachel,
I've been following your story since last year, you've been amazing for getting through what you have and doing it in the public eye has raised so much awareness and I have no doubt you will help and encourage a lot of people with your story and those negative people...well anyone who can think that after watching your story its just ignorance.
I saw so many friends get addicted over the years and your story has made me way more aware of what they went through and how difficult addiction is and how little real help there is out there.
I remember having some good laughs with you when we were kids in Ballymun, you were such a lovely person and watching you on the news and reading your stories(you look Fab in Cosmopolitan by the way!!), you are still that person.
You have some strength in you to have come through what you have. I wish you and your family the best for the future. Good luck in college! and I hope to buy your book when it is published and I have no doubt it will be!
Orla
x


I think people like Sonia shouldn't watch those stories on the news if they are so bothered by them. I hope she never has to deal with an addiction in her life or the lives of the ones she cares about.

Rachel is the one that made this happen for herself. Rachel is the one that had the strength to go to the media and show her arms and talk about what she's done.

Rachel is the one that made the effort to quit, noone else could do that but her. Yes, Rachel has gotten some attention out of it all but if anyone despises her for that then they're only jealous.

I doubt Rachel is having a laugh.

I, for one, am very proud of her and hope many good things continue to happen in her life.


Hi Rachel, just a short message to tell you how delighted and happy i am for you that you've turned your life around. You really are a very strong person and i wish you all the happiness for a drug fee life.
I grew up in Ballymun just across the road from you, we were friends as kids and i always thought you were such lovely girl.
You should be very proud of yourself for getting to the stage you have and i hope your life just gets better each day.
I've read all of the comments left by people most of them encouraging and some were negative or nasty towards you. I'd simply put the negative ones down to sheer ignorance and say a prayer that those people never have to experience the drug problems you suffered first hand.

Well done Rachel

Be happy x
Lisa


To Rachael, All the very very best xxx xxx xxx

Sonia; Dont you see what Rachael has done and what she is doing for Dublin? Why dont you use all that forceful energy and get on board with Rachael. You want your streets clean! You want the theft to stop! Well so does Rachael & in the process Rachael wants to save lives. Rachael's action is far from selfish. Rachael's public media attention is unbelievably positive for each life in Dublin today and the future of all Dublin's children. Why not consider using your anger in a more positive way.


Rachael, thank you for sharing your story with us. It was very brave of you. I'm originally from Ireland myself but now live in America. I came across your story several months ago on an Irish paper web site and have watched for updates. Friends told they saw you on both the Late Late Show and Sky News program last weekend. Last night I got to see both the programmes on the web and was delighted to see the great progress you made. I see the story as an equal inspiration to people who might be afflicted with an addiction and people who have no idea what is happening in their country and want to do something about it. For sure your story will have a tremendous impact on many people.

Unfortunately, there are people, like Sonia for instance, who can't fathom the possibility of someone they love being addicted to substances. Her comments were cruel and harsh. God forbid her children make wrong life decisions because she will probably abandon them immediately. And thank God your family stood by you while they went through their own hell. All our children take risks and make misguided decisions. You were very unfortunate. But maybe those other poor souls in Dublin who are suffering with their own chronic addictions need someone like you to lift them up and show them the way.

And finally, the Irish government spends hundreds of millions of euros on their 'pet projects' and there is no reason to believe the financial resources aren’t there to help those in need. As for Sonia…she’s likely headed for a government position in the near future. In fact I would speculate that ‘Sonia’ if that’s really her name, is closely related to, or associated with, the Minister of Health.

Thank you and keep up the great work.


keep it up babe but try an get off that methadone as quicly as poss


Rachael i wish you all the best in the future. Its embarrasing to live in a country like this where you couldnt receive the treatment you needed and you deserved. Its unfortunate that we do live in a rampent drug society and I hope one day that no one in Sonia's family ever becomes addicted to anything and i dont think heroin addicts have a control over it!!!! An addiction is a sickness and I dont know how anyone can say addicts deserve it..... no one deserves to go through 14 years an addict because our goverment are more interested in themselves than the addicts on our streets. Keep us posted Rachael on your book and all the best in college X


Hi Rachael, I think what you did is so brave, to come out to the world about your problem and wanting to get help took alot of guts, as you will have people judge you and make comments about you. These kind of people should remember that he without sin cast the stone. No one is perfect, people make mistakes some more harmful then others. You have faced up to your mixtake and that takes courage.

As for the post above I wonder if the same would be tought of a person that tries to commit Suicide & fails, that they are wasting our Health Service. People spend to much time commenting and judging people & things even if they dont have any experience of it. I have always said that you can never fully understand a situation if you have never experienced it.

Keep strong and looking forward to your book. xx


Rachael you are an inspiration to everyone, I have followed your story, since the pictures first broke last July. I'm delighted that you have made a recovery. I saw you on the Late Late Show and your documentary. It's a brilliant story. You'd be perfect for the voice of drugs in Ireland. Best of luck for the future.


"I am hoping a doctor out there who learns about my plight may someday come forward and volunteer to work on my arms. It would be a wonderful gift."

Surely witht the sales of your book you can put your hand in your pocket AND PAY FOR IT YOURSELF!


firstly rachael well done to get this far..u will b in my prayers and thoughts each day.
U ar an inspiration to us all,secondly can i say to ignore the likes of sonia who left u a very ignorant mess..as thats all it is ignorence!!im not a drug user and never hav been but hav kids myself and not a day goes by that i dont worry 4 them and i think u ar rite sometin has 2 b done,the goverment can take there heads out of the sand and wake up 2 wats happening.
Thank you so much 4 sharing ur story.

Goodluck racheal

May u always hav an angel by ur side Xx


dont know what to write but i know iv got to say something the doc touched me [im ex heroin 3 years clean]. i run www.flairywebdesign.com and would love to help u out with a website for free if your still in need of one, as the doc really gave me strenth to battle on [ althought im off brown i still was taking methadone on nd off but since i saw ur film iv decide to try harder] thanks you for making the film im sure it will have helped alot of people


ps iv been thinking of making a live heroin help chat room if u or anyone reading this would like to b involed give me a buzz my contact details r on my website
cheers nic sinclair
www.flairywebdesign.com


you are a insparation


You are an inspiration and I hope you can reach out to the many that are suffering from this dreadful disease in our country. Shame on the politicians who continue to turn their backs on this problem.


WOW Rachael..i was shocked and moved by such a turnaround.after watching your story today.not a lot of people make it back from that stage..thank god you have.after all its going to be a better world with you still here.
..bless your heart
luv Danny


Hello Rachael, we were childhood friends in Ballymun some years ago prior to me moving homes. I wish you all the best for the future and great success with your book. I will be sure to buy a copy.

Take Care,

Caitriona Fleming :)


Rachel, just watched your program & I wanted to say how well you look & are doing. Your story should be shown in all schools because if anyone was ever tempted your story would put them off. Keep up the goodwork & goodluck in the future, you deserve it x


I am a heroin addict from dublin myself. i am 25 and iv been on heroin since i was 15. i feel that i am on it so long now that i will never come of it. after watching your video on sky news it has given me hope that i can do it. you are such a big inspiration to all us addicts in dublin and i hope things just get better for you.

Lynda.


I met Rachael in treatment in 2002.She was so lovely to me and gave me lots of support in AA/NA meetings.I often wondered about how she was doing as I knew she went back using.Thankfully I have been clean and sober since 2002 and I wanted to tell Rachael how happy I am to see her doing so well.I watched the late late show and sky this evening and it was very emotional watching her.Shes so lovely, clever, bright and full of life.Rachael I wish you all the happiness in your recovery, one day at a time girlie.
"I have a life beyond my wildest dreams and so will you".
Anon Dublin.xxxx


Rachael I have just watched all five episodes on line at sky and I just wanted to say well done to you. Your story is amazing and I wish you the best for what ever the future has in store for you.

Lots of love
Mel
xxx


I was in The Rutland Centre with Rachel a few years ago and I often wondered how she was.Thankfully I have been clean and sober since and I was delighted to see her on the late late show tonight. Well done Rachel, you are such a lovely person, you were so good to me at the AA/NA meetings,u gave me great support. Keep up the good work and remember "a day at a time" girl."I have a life beyond my wildest dreams"..
Anon.xxxxx


I grew up in an area not to far from you; I made an intelligent decision at a very early age not to go down the drugs road. Seeing people like you hanging around the streets with no jobs and no futures in front of them made me realise that I never wanted to waste my life in this way.

I was also robbed on couple of occasion by heroin addicts like yourself that obviously feel its their God given right to take what they like because of their “addiction”. It’s a complete joke, I found this article hard to read and even harder to read without laughing. Fair enough you have kicked the habit for now but I really don’t think your story is inspiring to anyone unless they are themselves heroin addicts and think that some day due to this addiction they might end up in a glossy magazine, lets be real anyone that is willing to inject that crap into their body is obviously lacking in something and that’s the kind of fairy world/ story they don’t need to hear.

Lastly I would also like to say I think it is very unfair of you to make those comments on our Minster of Health and this so called letter you sent. In this country far too much time, energy and money both in our health service and our police service gets spent on heroin addicts. I seriously doubt that during your 15-year addiction you didn’t receive treatment after treatment costing us tax payers an obscene amount of money. There are people who cant get care or beds in our hospitals for illnesses that they have no control over. Why should someone like you that due to selfishness and lack of care for yourself or the people around get care after writing one letter???????? You have to be having a laugh.

Please do us all a favour and keep your story to yourself, I am embarrassed and sickened when I see it on the news.



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