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 depression and heroin.
In his groundbreaking memoir, The Weight of Air, David chronicles his struggle to overcome mental illness and addiction. By age nineteen, he'd been through medical detox, inpatient rehab, twelve-step programs, and a halfway house. He saw his drug use as a symptom of depression, but the experts insisted that addiction was the problem. Over the next thirteen years, he went from one relapse to the next, drowning in guilt, shame, and secrets, until he finally found an evidence-based treatment that not only saved his life, but helped him thrive.
With grit, humor, and brutal honesty, David's story exposes the danger in traditional recovery models: they actually increase stigma and the risk of overdose, relapse, and death. As depression and addiction rates skyrocket and overdose fatalities surge, The Weight of Air is a scathing indictment of our failed response to the opioid crisis--and proof that success is possible.
Signed copies available at Split Rock Books in Cold Spring, NY.
Read an excerpt in Filter Magazine here
"David Poses’ unflinching memoir takes you to the dark corners of addiction – and shows there’s a way out. The Weight of Air serves as a timely reminder that recovery is possible."
Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Death in Mud Lick:
A Coal Country Fight Against the Drug Companies That Delivered the Opioid Epidemic
"A searingly honest addiction memoir with a much needed perspective. In order to end the overdose crisis, we need evidence-based care that heeds these voices rather than ignoring or repressing them."
New York Times best-selling author of Unbroken Brain
"A fluidly written, disarmingly blunt account of heroin addiction and recovery."
White House Drug Policy Adviser to Presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama
"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."
New York Times best-selling author of Chasing the Scream
"A potent addition to the literature on drug addiction and recovery."
"The blueprint for hope and survival that is ultimately Poses's story could not arrive at a more important time as the nation grapples with its overdose epidemic."
New York Times bestselling author of Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America
"Entertaining, honest, darkly comedic, and smart as hell...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
"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."
Brandon del Pozo, PhD
Retired NYPD Deputy Inspector and retired Chief of Police, Burlington, VT
"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
"Poses's all-out honesty is not only compelling, but serves to uncover failures of our system and to illuminate evidence-based practices."
Founding Editor-In-Chief, Filter Magazine
"A must-read for those hoping to educate themselves about the issues in the opioid crisis."
Activist and Author of The Big Fix
"David Poses is the gold standard of survival. He writes from the heart about how to get help once and for all to beat addiction. The Weight of Air is a must read!"
CNN Journalist and host, Deborah Kobylt Live
"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
"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. It takes a special kind of bravery to share the darkest period of your life. . . . The Weight of Air is a testimony to Poses's strength."
Jennifer Hornak, RN
"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, Poses bravely creates a path for others to do the same."
Stephanie Papes Strong, Founder and CEO of Boulder Care