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Secret Keeping

Overcoming Hidden Habits and Addictions

by John Howard Prin, LADC

For three decades, author and counselor John Howard Prin lived as a Secret Keeper®, and his secret addictions escalated to near catastrophe. Since breaking the habit, he has directly experienced the rewards of successful recovery - whole-mindedness and renewed integrity. In these pages, he offers compelling true stories and practical exercises to empower readers to break their secret-keeping® habit or help a loved one caught in a web of deception.

The first half of the book explores the human tendency to keep secrets, profiling a variety of secret keepers from all walks of life. The second half provides a clear, step-by-step approach to healing, rebuilding self-esteem, and living a healthy, secret-free life.

"John Prin has written an important work that offers understanding, depth, and hope. It presents a path to letting go of secrets and living a life of honesty, openness, and transparency. A wonderful contribution to the recovery process."

- CLAUDIA BLACK, PhD, author of It Will Never Happen to Me

Secret Keepers are persons whose secrets have power over them and make them misbehave, become sick, or violate others. Often hard-working professionals or family men and women, they are high-functioning on one level but in bondage to deeply held secrets on another. We read about these folks who steal hours away from their productive lives in the daily news:

  • A university professor of religious studies is found with more than 4,200 Internet photos of child porn on his work computer
  • A hard-working mother with three children hides bottles of vodka in the laundry room, then binges when the kids are at school.
  • An elected legislator files for bankruptcy from gambling debts and the public learns of his taking off hours from work weekly to visit casinos, wearing clever disguises.
  • A PTA chairperson arrives late to important meetings because she can't leave the house until checking to make sure her stove is turned off dozens of times and the water taps are turned extra tightly.

"John Prin has performed a public service of the highest order with Secret Keeping, which paints a pragmatic path to addressing addictions, boosting self-esteem, and living honestly and openly. John Prin's message is uplifting: treatment works, and recovery is possible."

- JIM RAMSTAD,U.S. House of Representatives, co-chair of the Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus

Each of these troubled people lives a double life because of their unhealthy secrets. Now think of the 80 million similar Secret Keepers worldwide who steal hours away from their public lives to act out their secret behaviors or passions, sometimes for decades, but who never get found out. You will meet:

  • Tracy, a bulimic
  • Brad, a pathological gambler
  • Kevin, a cross-dresser
  • Lila, a shoplifter
  • Earl, an incest perpetrator
  • Mitch, an executive in credit card debt
  • Caroline, a captive to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Shelly, the wife of an exhibitionist
  • And myself, a once-secret heavy drinker.

Secret Keeping is a guide to self-awareness that assists readers to rid themselves of double lives, those unhealthy and disabling habits of double-mindedness - and, instead, to live liberated lives of whole-mindedness. Its healing messages provide practical stepping stones to wholeness and emotional recovery for anyone living a double life of secret activities.

This book is meant to help:

  • People who have secrets that make them unhealthy or unhappy.
  • Practicing Secret Keepers looking for solutions to the suffering caused by the double-minded choices of their secret lives.
  • Persons living with a Secret Keeper, frequently suspicious and weary, who are seeking encouragement and effective coping skills.
  • Professionals in the counseling, social work, and pastoral fields who deal with secret-keeping behaviors and who will use this book's ideas, theories, and practical advice to help their clients.

"A timely book! John Prin takes the reader on a wonderfully exciting journey of self-exploration and the development of personal insight. He provides practical methods to free ourselves of our 'hidden secrets' so that ultimately we can be at peace with who we are even when no one else is around."

- Patrick DeChello, PhD, author of Understanding Self-Injury

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