Freedom from the Prison of Addiction

Freedom from the Prison of Addiction combines the Twelve-Step Programme of AA with the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola to build a faith-based pathway out of the misery and pain of addiction.

Martina Killeavy is a counsellor and spiritual director with years of experience as a chaplain in Maghaberry Prison in Co. Antrim. In the course of her ministry she saw first hand the harm of addiction but also the strength and resilience of the men she served. Working with them, she drew on two sources of wisdom – the Spiritual Exercises and the Twelve-Step Programme – to map a path for those struggling to find a way out of addiction. Practical, psychologically profound, and accessible, these sessions have now been gathered in this volume. Freedom from the Prison of Addiction is a liberating resource which can be used in prisons, treatment centres, parishes, or wherever people experiencing addiction – and those who love them – hope for a new lease of life.

Twelve Steps of AA & Ignatian Spirituality

In Freedom from the Prison of Addiction, Killeavy makes the Spiritual Exercises accessible through a series of 12 clearly written reflections, which offer the reader a deeper understanding of the process. The book expands on the inherent spirituality of the Twelve-Step Programme of AA by adding the more profound process of The Spiritual Exercises – meditations, prayers and spiritual practices created by Ignatius of Loyola – founder of the Jesuit order – in the 16th century. There are many parallels between the two practices, making the progression from the first to the second a natural pathway.

Freedom from the Prison of Addiction book cover


The book’s focus on Killeavy’s own deep faith and training as a spiritual director, combined with her extensive experience of working with people addicted to alcohol and other drugs make Freedom from the Prison of Addiction a useful tool for prison chaplains and people working with addiction in institutional settings. Its mixture of contemporary and ancient wisdom is equally applicable to  anyone seeking to deepen their faith-based spiritual practice to overcome addiction.


“This book is a powerful tool which can transform people’s lives. It deserves to be widely distributed and can be used with prisoners, in parishes or in schools.” Peter McVerry SJ

“A remarkable book, born out of lived experience, and addressing ancient wisdom to one of the most harrowing of contemporary problems.” Dr Kevin Hargaden, Director of the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice

“A wonderful book for anyone involved in pastoral care or in recovery programmes… a really beautiful piece of work.” Sr Veronica CHF, former chaplain, Mountjoy Prison

“All that is contained in these pages touches the heart and provides an atmosphere where inner healing and growth is possible.” Fr Ciarán Enright, former head of the Irish Prison Chaplains

Freedom from the Prison of Addiction is available from Messenger Publications and at all good bookshops