While his wife and two-year-old daughter watched TV in the living room, David Poses was in the kitchen, measuring the distance from his index finger to his armpit. He needed to be sure he could pull the trigger with a shotgun barrel in his mouth. Twenty-six inches. Thirty-two years old. More than a decade in a double life fueled by heroin addiction and mental illness.
The Weight of Air chronicles David’s struggle to overcome the depression that led him to opioids as a teenager. By nineteen, he’d been through medical detox, inpatient rehab, twelve-step programs, and a halfway house, unable to reconcile his experience with conventional wisdom. He saw his addiction as secondary, as a symptom of depression, but the experts insisted that addiction was the primary problem. Over the next thirteen years, he went from one relapse to the next, drowning in guilt, shame, and secrets—until he finally found the treatment that saved his life.
With grit and brutal honesty, David shines a bright light on the flaws in our traditional addiction and recovery models, exposing the opioid crisis for what it really is: a convergence of two deadly epidemics.
Pre-orders available in hardcover and paperback from most booksellers and Kindle, Nook and Apple eBook. Audiobook will be available soon
Signed copies can be pre-ordered at Split Rock Books in Cold Spring, NY.
The Weight of Air will be published on July 6, 2021.
"The Weight of Air is a moving, tender, thoughtful account of addiction and also a compelling critique of a lot that's wrong with the dominant model of addiction treatment.
—Johann Hari, New York Times best-selling author of Chasing the Scream
"A potent addition to the literature on drug addiction and recovery."
"Entertaining, honest, darkly comedic, and smart as hell, David Poses's The Weight of Air is a painfully accurate portrayal of heroin addiction and the sorts of treatments forced upon us. . . . Poses is about to turn your whole worldview on addiction upside down in the best way."
Author of My Fair Junkie: A Memoir of Getting Dirty and Staying Clean
Click to hear Amy interview David on her podcast, Rehab Confidential:
The Weight of Air is a riveting and deeply personal account of addiction and the flawed treatment system that repeatedly failed him. His unsparing honesty about the depths of his heroin habit provides a chilling insider view of the destructive power of addictive drugs. And his credible indictment of the existing treatment model is infuriating. The blueprint for hope and survival that is ultimately his story could not arrive at a more important time as the nation grapples with its overdose epidemic.
—Gerald Posner, Award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author of Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America
"A fluidly written, disarmingly blunt account of heroin addiction and recovery."
White House Drug Policy Adviser to Presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama
"For years as I worked as a New York City cop, David Poses and I shared a fence as neighbors, and I never knew he was in treatment for addiction to heroin. When he finally told me his story, it transformed my approach to policing. The Weight of Air is at once an intensely personal memoir and a much-needed blueprint for saving lives during this time of profound crisis. Police need more neighbors like David."
—Brandon del Pozo, PhD
Retired NYPD Deputy Inspector and retired Chief of Police, Burlington, VT
Click to see Brandon and David on NBC News
"Poses' all-out honesty is not only compelling, but serves to uncover failures of our system and to illuminate evidence-based practices."
—Will Godfrey, Founding Editor-In-Chief, Filter Magazine
"This honest memoir is a gift to the reader--and it will save lives. David Poses holds up depression, self-doubt, and fear for our scrutiny and offers real, tangible hope. This book will be on my mind now--always."
Author of Bad Medicine: Catching New York's Deadliest Pill Pusher
"Poses's offbeat humor leavens the chilling details of an often heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful story."
Journalist and former member of the New York Times Editorial Board
"The Weight of Air is about breaking down stigma and ending the silence that causes people to hide substance use, with often tragic consequences. This book will help readers better understand why people use substances and the urgency to reframe our responses and thinking."
—Petra Schulz, Co-Founder, Moms Stop The Harm
"The Weight of Air makes us comes to grips with the fact that opioids are not just used for physical pain--they also ease psychic pain. . . . After the death of my son from overdose, I bonded with David over our mutual belief that medications for recovery are lifesaving and not just for short-term use. It takes a special kind of bravery to share the darkest period of your life. . . . The Weight of Air is a testimony to [David's] strength."
—Jennifer Hornak, RN
Click to see Jennifer and David talk about buprenorphine CBS' The Doctors
"In his persistently, courageously contrarian memoir, Poses advocates for painkilling and medication-assisted treatment, an effective, life-saving alternative to the unregulated, shame-laden rehab merry-go-round that sets up patients to fail—and often to die. Anyone who reads this book will be eager to see what he does next."
—Carlyn Zwarenstein, Author of On Opium (2021)
"The Weight of Air reveals why so many have been harmed less by drugs or alcohol than by arcane addiction treatment programs, misguided public policies, and pervasive stigma. By sharing his own story with uninhibited candor, David bravely creates a path for others to do the same."
—Stephanie Papes Strong, Founder and CEO of Boulder Care