Alumna publishes book on struggling with family addiction

August 11, 2022

WPU Alumna Jenny Prince ’91 faced the unimaginable. What started as a struggle with mental health for her daughter grew to substance abuse and, ultimately, addiction. 

Prince exhausted every possibility to help her daughter — she knew she had to find the answer that would save her. Finally, Prince decided to send her daughter to Wilderness Therapy, a program that immerses patients in an outdoor environment focusing on hands-on activities to heal.

“It was the hardest and most difficult thing I have ever done [to send her there]. I wondered if she would hate me forever and never speak to me again,” Prince said. “I was willing to take that risk so she could at least be alive. I will also never forget the day she was taken from my home and how gut-wrenchingly painful that was.”

There, her daughter began to heal and recover — the program saved her life. She has now celebrated her third sober year. 

As Prince reflect on her journey, she realized she wanted to help other parents going through similar experiences. This desire motivated her and another mom from the program to do just that by writing the book “Into the Wilds: A Mother’s Guide to Wilderness Therapy.”

“It is such an isolating journey to have a child who struggled with addiction. Going through that journey with my daughter was one of the hardest things in my life,” Prince said. “In writing the book, the hope has always been that we can help other parents that may be facing similar situations with their teens.”

The book, available for purchase, functions as a guide on how to navigate this type of situation. It seeks to help readers to understand how to confront the problem, be honest with themselves and ultimately help their children and families. 

 Already more than 200 copies have been sold by word of mouth. 

“Writing the book was very therapeutic. I didn’t understand how hard this all was until I revisited it,” Prince said. “Writing it caused me to realize ‘Oh my God, that really did happen.’”

Prince recalls the courage it took to go through this and to seek out help at all costs. She knew she had to get her daughter help if it caused her daughter to resent her.

Prince first learned how to have courage like this at her alma mater. 

“That’s what [WPU] taught us. It taught us to be strong confident women that can lead with courage,” she said. “I could not have made it through this almost impossible time without that and without my Peace community. The friends I made at Peace are still my closest friends today.”

She is grateful for the WPU community that supported her through this and hopes the book in turn can help other alumni and students. WPU was and is a home to Prince — from her first day as a student in 1989 to rooming with Peace girls after graduation to now as a published author.