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Witness to the Fire: Creativity and the Veil of Addiction Paperback – June 5, 2001

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

This powerful book spans the realms of Jungian psychology, existential philosophy, and literary analysis to explore the relationship between addiction and creativity. By examining the lives and works of writers such as Dostoevsky, Eugene O'Neill, Jack London, and Jean Rhys, as well as the experiences of people in recovery, Linda Leonard holds out the hope that anyone bound by addiction can reclaim the power that fuels dependency for a life of joy and creativity.

About the Author

Linda Schierse Leonard is the author of Creation's Heartbeat, Meeting the Madwoman, Witness to the Fire, and On the Way to the Wedding.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; Reprint edition (June 5, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877735883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877735885
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #463,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Should be mandatory reading in any drug/alcohol counseling course. I've read this book 2x and have savored it completely each and every time. I've gained new insights into myself. I finally understood the reaons for which I drank and how barren and empty my soul was for spirit. How badly I wanted to be "drunk" with spirit. And in my inability to replicate that experience, which fed my frustrations and in turn, lead me to drink. Understood the "voices" in my head that were there to punish me for every imagined infraction. Those harmful "parental voices" mocking approval and throwing tibits of love at me. My need to feel the connection to the spirit and the easy road that I took as a young adult. Every time I have re-read a page or two out of this book has always led me to create some form of art in some way.
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Format: Paperback
Never have I seen anything quite like this. This is the definitive book on creativity. & When you don't create, ahhh, the ills that befall us. We fall into an addictive pattern trying desperatedly to recreate that atonement w/God. Failing that, one either drinks, or does whatever to replicate that feeling one more time. Again & again. This book revealed the essence alcoholism. Why certain people drink or create. Simple as that. I've reread this one @ least 2x now. Enjoy your journey.
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By A Customer on October 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a unique and courageous book, as heartening to the artist as to the addict in each of us. It is a marvelously distilled meditation on creativity's darkness en route to the light. Leonard has deftly woven literary, spiritual, and psychological treatments of the dark night of the soul into a seamless tapestry, and found precious meaning in some of the most devastating aspects of human experience. For anyone facing their own darkness, this book is a welcome and comforting companion, an inspiring guide, and a very wise friend.
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Format: Hardcover
This is actually an appreciation - not a literary review. I am an alcoholic in recovery and have an immense gratitude to Linda for writing this book. In her book I found answers, or rather experiences I could relate to, so similar and fitting to many issues burning and un-explained within me. My daimon has been enriched and my recovery program enhanced as a result of reading her great work. I have become a survivor (witness) to the road less travelled up the ladder out of the Abyss - I am no longer terrified to visit that void of darkness because I understand the burning issues of Creativity and Addiction parallels and inter-relations all that much better for reading her book. I am able, daily, one step at a time, to unshackle myself as a hostage to my addiction and choose to harness my creativity productively as a result of being a student of "Witness to the Fire". And I am a student of her work still, and always will be, due to my acceptance of my powerlessness over my lifelong disease and my need for every tool I can find to keep me healthy and strong. But I have chosen to let My Higher Power guide my daily existence and can therefore cope and be creative once more. Linda's book is constantly next to my bedside along with my "Big Book" and "My Recovery Book" - in daily use during my prayers and meditations. You helped save my life Linda - Thank You. Colin Tatham
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Format: Paperback
Linda Schierse Leonard provides anyone interested with the resources to look at psyche and archtype in relationship to being a creative person in "Witness to the Fire". For the "artist", this book is extremely helpful in providing a way of looking at onesself with the eye of an informed Jungian. You will come back to this book again and again as new issues come up in the creative process.

In particular, Leonard deals with addictive behaviors as they affect the psyche of the creative person. She outlines the lives of real people -- ranging from Dostoevsky to her own clients -- who have experienced the archtypal roles she describes.

Leonard's descriptions and analyses will assist the reader in understanding the behavior and thinking of anyone experiencing the struggles of creativity. She offers insights and descriptions that can be helpful to any reader who seeks to maximize their ability to truely live and create in a conscious manner.
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Format: Paperback
Want a visceral take on addiction? Want a first hand account of real world application of Jungian technique? Want a "romantic" account in the imaginative, inventive, supernatural sense besides the usual understanding of the term? This your book

GLB
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