Public Relations Blog

Blind Devotion by Shariene Prinsen

Blind DevotionPublisher: Hazelden Publishing
October 2012


To what lengths should a woman go to keep her family together?  Sharlene Prinsen stood by her man even when he sat in the yard in the middle of the night armed with a rifle, daring the S.W.A.T. team to shoot at him.  Even when she started to lose the support of family and friends who believed she was out of her mind for staying, she remained firm.  Sharlene Prinsen, a teacher from Wisconsin had no idea of how her life would turn out, but her story is one of hope and an undying faith that saw her family through inexplicable situations.  In BLIND DEVOTION (Hazelden Publishing; October 1, 2012; $14.95; Original Trade Paperback) she courageously shares what her husband and her family endured, and how they had to find their own answers in the face of a medical system that is still, in the 21stcentury, ill-equipped to handle mental illness.

Sharlene was introduced to Sean by a neighbor in her apartment building.  He was handsome and charming, and had served in the military in Bosnia.  They fell in love, got engaged, and planned their wedding.  There were red flags for Sharlene that something wasn’t completely right for Sean—his panic and anger when faced with ghost decorations hanging from trees on Halloween; his violent reaction to Sharlene’s picking something up from the ground on the roadside; the fight they had before the wedding where Sean irrationally offered to call it off.  It was difficult for Sharlene to reconcile the angry, unpredictable Sean with the warm, engaging, and interesting man she thought she knew.  Eventually, her happy memories won out, they were married, and two children were born.

But the story in BLIND DEVOTION is not so simple.  For seven years Sean and Sharlene fought a battle with depression, pain killers, and alcohol.  Then finally after many trips to doctors and facilities—including jails and hospitals, they came face-to-face with the root cause of their problems—Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  This insidious condition and the perfect storm of war injuries and narcotic pain remedies made their lives a living hell and it was not until they found a savvy Veteran’s Administration counselor that their world started to turn around for the better.

PTSD, a condition that has been covered somewhat in the media, is still a disorder that lacks support and apparently many doctors do not even recognize it or consider it when diagnosing their patients.  One surprise from BLIND DEVOTION is that Sean’s problems did not originate with any of the more popularly broadcast wars like Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan—there is no variety of war that breeds more stress than others.   Also, PTSD does not go away, if accepted and recognized as a disorder, the symptoms have to be managed like epilepsy or diabetes.  Once a soldier, always a soldier, and for Sean this means he is always battle ready whether the behaviors that go along with that are appropriate for civilian society or not.  It is perhaps this conflict that rages inside some ex-military personnel, that leads them down a path of depression and addiction to kill the pain.

BLIND DEVOTION is full of warm moments juxtaposed against horrifying situations that are extremely moving.  Sharlene’s story, her belief in God and her ability to look at her own behavior and mishandling of situations in order to change herself for the better, makes her telling exceptional.  For any marriage in crisis or a family going through a tough time, BLIND DEVOTION has a strong message that may heal as much as it inspires.

Sharlene Prinsen and her husband Sean have been married for nine years and have two children.  She is a teacher in Northern Wisconsin.  This is her first book.