Stolen Hours: Breaking Free From Secret Addictions
by John Howard Prin
Syren Book Company

"Secret lives center on substances, objects, or events—not people with whom we are meant to connect."

In a book about breaking free from destructive secret behaviors, an addictions counselor candidly reveals his 40-year history as an individual caught up in the world of secret-keeping. “Secret Keepers” is the term Prin uses to define individuals whose unhealthy addictions “have strong power over them,” resulting in extreme misbehavior and even violation of others. The author focuses on how abusers of alcohol and drugs, gambling, sexual addictions, and other addictive behavior resort to “stealing away” hours to feed their secrets. Prin reveals his own story, starting with innocent enough childish obsessions. But throughout the intimate narrative, we learn his hurtful behaviors come to include an intense desire to harm his mom, take his own life at certain low points, and more.

If any single quality serves Prin well in writing this book, it is his unflinching honesty. The reader learns about the key principles of secret-keeping: the excitement of breaking the rules, the pleasure gained from engaging in such behaviors, and the delight of not getting caught. We read of Prin’s involvement over the decades with groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and, in his case, finding faith in God and devotion to Christianity as useful tools for overcoming his secret addictions. Prin tells it straight. He does not sugarcoat the depths of his disturbed thinking and actions. The reader is left trusting that Prin’s advice not only comes from his heart but literally from a life lived on the ‘other side’ of the emotional and physical wellness he now helps his clients achieve.

A 2020 Eric Hoffer Book Award Legacy Nonfiction First Runner-Up

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