Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture and Spring Journal Books
$ 23.95

The War of the Gods in Addiction
C.G. Jung, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Archetypal Evil

by David E. Schoen

ISBN: 978-1-882670-57-4
172 pp.

The War of the Gods in Addiction, based on the correspondence between Bill W., one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous and C.G. Jung, proposes an original, groundbreaking, psychodynamic view of addiction which explains both the creation and successful treatment of alcoholism and other addictions. Using insights from Jungian psychology, it demonstrates why the 12 steps of AA really work. It emphasizes the crucial process of neutralizing the Archetypal Shadow / Archetypal Evil, an aspect of all true addictions, and explores this concept extensively through theoretical and clinical material, modern and ancient myths, and fairy tales. The significance of using dreams for diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of addiction is also explained. This book bridges the longstanding gap between the mental health community and 12-step recovering communities and translates concepts necessary to understanding the addictive process in ways that encourage mutual understanding and benefit.


Praise for The War of the Gods in Addiction

"Reading this intelligent, well-written book is like jumping into a clear mountain lake on a hot summer day. First it shocks, then it refreshes; and then, when you finish, you feel deeply renewed.

"David Schoen’s approach to addiction is the most original and the most powerful I have encountered. In a way, he rehabilitates the term ‘fundamentalist’ in the dictionary sense that his message about addiction is ‘major, essential, having to do with the foundations’. From the beginning he doesn’t mince his words. Addiction, he says, is about death. He painstakingly and respectfully reviews the major scientific and psychological definitions of addiction and then stakes his own claim that for him, addiction is above all a total take over of normal ego functioning and always, if allowed its way, a ‘death sentence’. From there on, he becomes a sort of weaver, weaving vast clinical and literary research together with the uniquely successful experience of Alcoholics Anonymous all against the backdrop of the Jungian notion of the archetype of Shadow/Evil to make a convincing and fascinating case for the unique dangers of true addiction to any substance or behavior. He offers a deeply thought out understanding of addiction and much hope but no false comfort. This is a book that makes you sit up and pay attention: as a therapist to your patients’ suffering and as a human being to your own tendencies."

Jan Bauer, M.A., Jungian analyst, author of Women and Alcoholism and Impossible Love  

"From the perspective of a person in recovery from alcoholism, I always felt encouraged and somewhat validated just with the knowledge that Bill W., one of the founders of AA, and Carl Jung were aware of each other and had concurrent thoughts. This new book by David Schoen greatly illuminates the nature and power of addiction and, more importantly, clarifies the rationale for a spiritual path in recovery. The thoughts and observations expressed in it ring true to the twelve-step recovery journey I have experienced myself and encountered in others over the past twenty-five plus years. We can all benefit from this powerful articulation of the struggle and the realm of the solution. I offer a heartfelt thanks to David Schoen for his work on the behalf of those of us in the struggle."

Paul S., AA member (sobriety date 10/04/1981)

"A must for all therapists who have clients with addictive issues. David Schoen makes it clear that recovery via the 12-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is primary in the treatment of addiction and that it can be deadly dangerous for addictive clients if the importance of this mode of recovery is not recognized and given priority. Schoen shows the way the AA 12-Step program dovetails with Jung’s description of the individuation process and addresses shadow aspects such as resentment, fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, inflation, deflation, and other obstacles to our health and wholeness—plagues that deaden our lives. Schoen offers hope to all of us who are dealing in any way with addictive problems. After reading this book, I felt a breath of relief for a way of treatment that is inspirational, compassionate, and understanding of the deep subconscious layer of the psyche that must be faced in addiction and a deep gratitude to David Schoen for what he offers us in this book."

Linda S. Leonard, Ph.D., author of Witness to the Fire: Creativity and the Veil of Addiction and The Wounded Woman

"David Schoen makes the case that addiction is not merely an appetite gone awry, but a true psychological highjacking ending in a death of the mind, body and spirit. This is the sometimes heartbreaking reality for those of us who work with individuals and families suffering an addiction. This book brings a welcome dialogue that can better help us understand the phenomena of relapse and recovery."

Robert Hetrick, Licensed Addiction Counselor, Certified Compulsive Gambling Counselor, with 20 years experience in treating addictions

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Setting the Stage: The Bill W. – Carl Jung Letters

  • Bill W.’s Letter
  • Carl Jung’s Letter

Chapter Two: The Psychodynamics of Addiction: Development of a Typical Addiction

  • Stage 1 – The Ego/Persona Identification Alignment with the “False Self”
  • Stage 2 – The Development of the Personal Shadow
  • Stage 3 – The Introduction of the Potentially Addictive Behavior
  • Stage 4 – The Creation of the Addiction-Shadow-Complex
  • Stage 5 – The Addiction-Shadow-Complex Takes over the Psyche

Chapter Three: An Exploration of Archetypal Shadow/Archetypal Evil as an Essential Ingredient in Addiction

  • An Overview of Concepts of Evil
  • Clinical and Theoretical Formulations of Unintegratable Aspects of the Psyche
  • Images of Addiction and Archetypal Shadow/Archetypal Evil in Fairy Tales, Myth and Religion
  • Why People are Drawn to Archetypal Shadow/Archetypal Evil
  • Clarification of Definitions of Archetypal Shadow/Archetypal Evil

Chapter Four: The Healing Process of Recovery through the Twelve Steps of A.A.

  • A. Turning it Over: The First Three Steps of A.A. and the First Three Stages of the Psychodynamics of Recovery
  • B. Shadow Work: A.A. Steps Four through Ten and Stage four of Psychodynamics of Recovery
  • C. Staying in the Light: A.A. Steps Eleven and Twelve and Stages Five and Six of the Psychodynamics of Recovery

Chapter Five: “Using Dreams” of Recovering Alcoholic and Addicted Individuals

  • “Feels Great” Using Dream Reactions
  • “Feels Awful” Using Dream Reactions
  • “Somewhere-in-between” Using Dream Reactions

David Schoen, LCSW, MSSW, is a Jungian analyst who practices near New Orleans, Louisiana. He lectures and teaches nationally, is an internationally published author on the psychic significance of the hurricane, and a Louisiana poet.