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The Weight of Air: A Story of the Lies about Addiction and the Truth about Recovery

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  455 ratings  ·  97 reviews
“Readers will cheer Poses [in this] potent addition to the literature on drug addiction and recovery.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

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. T
Hardcover, 250 pages
Published July 6th 2021 by Sandra Jonas Publishing
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David Poses
Jul 05, 2021 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Twenty-five years ago, when I railed against faith and abstinence-based treatment and insisted my addiction was a symptom, my views were dismissed as outlier opinion by “experts” with no medical credentials. Today, faith and abstinence treatment is proven to increase stigma and risk of overdose, death, and relapse, and 95% of opioid addicts are known to have a co-occurring mental health disorder, but 97% in rehab are treated for addiction only.

While it’s nice to be able to say my opinions are n
Jun 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredibly moving book, and a timely one. (Say "opioid crisis" three times fast.)

David Poses isn't playing out the familiar story of an addict finding their higher power and "getting clean." He's exploding that entire paradigm. His basic formulation is that depression is pain, and that heroin is a painkiller. We wouldn't stigmatize a heart-disease patient for taking beta blockers; so why do we stigmatize those with serious depression (or other mental health disorders) for taking the
Chris Boutté
Jul 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The opioid epidemic has been going on for over 20 years, and it nearly killed me until I was able to get clean back in 2012. Since then, it’s killed countless others, but there’s still not nearly enough awareness and a massive stigma around addiction. Fortunately, people like David Poses took the time to share his personal story of addiction and recovery in this book, and it was extremely relatable. The book recounts David’s struggles with depression, addiction, and suicidal ideation, and I can’ ...more
David Crow
Jul 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a very brave book from an extraordinary man, who probably could have died a hundred times over. Thankfully, not only did he not die, he has lived to tell a powerful and compelling story about depression, addiction, family struggles, and how he managed to not only survive but thrive.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I read it in one sitting because the pages simply turned themselves until the last page. I was so grateful to find David happily married, with two beautiful children
Chesa Rasmussen
Jun 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is definitely one of the most honest and real accounts of what it is like to live life after going through an in patient rehabilitation center and what life is like after. I should know, because I lived through it! I believe this book is so important because it will help people who don’t struggle with addiction every day understand our challenges. I know it will help the people like us to not feel so alone in the world and the comfort it will bring them to know that others walk in their sho ...more
Oct 01, 2021 rated it it was ok
I have a hard time rating this. This was not at all what I was expecting - this book is more of a memoir than a critical look at how faulty drug policy and abstinence-based recovery models fails most people who use drugs. That's probably my fault. To be honest, I found it hard to relate to. And I found it somewhat grating the way he writes about women (too many weird comments about breasts?). A lot of name dropping artists.

I am an Indigenous women who works with and loves people who live in Van
Jul 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Weight of Air is a debut memoir about depression and drug addiction that reads like a fast-paced novel. The autobiography arrives in bookstores at a critical time in the U.S. as depression, drug addiction, and opioid use in America are rampant and offers readers a personal view of this landscape.

Author David Poses not only shares his personal story but offers experienced insight, suggestions (and alternatives) to how addiction can be treated beyond the "just say no" types of abstinence prog
Jul 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I will start by saying I avoid memoirs & non- fiction. I much prefer a fun little story with a neat bow at the end. That being said , I enjoyed this book immensely! The writing is straightforward and easy to follow while remaining interesting. David brings an undercurrent of humor through his story, which made the hard parts of the book easier for me to read. He also mixed in other parts of himself, like his love for music, consistently through the story. I am listening to OK computer while I wr ...more
Isela Martinez
Jul 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
David Poses' story is one that completely did away with my impressions (or prejudice) of what depression and substance use can be. Read this book. It's important. It is a heartbreakingly honest insight into the suffering of someone who felt they had to hide both a deep depression and heroin use to deal with that depression from everyone in their life for 20+ years.

I got an advance copy in exchange for a review and I finished reading it last night (I would have finished the book in one sitting i
Kinnon Ross
Sep 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
As a person in recovery and a harm reduction nurse and advocate I loved this book. The way that the feelings and processes of using and stopping are described are so accurate.- The deep deep sadness that so many of us experience and the elation and connection that we feel when we use. Using drugs was a way to stop feeling those horrific moments of darkness. It was a way to avoid actually ending my life.
I wish that more people could understand and explore these stories. They are important. This
Linda Cortright
Jun 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Weight of Air is a soul-wrenching journey. It is also impossible to put down. Trapped in a peripatetic dance of death and duplicity, David Poses is tethered to his heroin addiction. His family and friends, however, all believe he is now clean and sober. Written with startling and often comical candor, Poses realizes he can no longer survive in the world he has created. For many addicts, death is the ultimate escape. Fortunately, modern medicine has provided another alternative: Suboxone. It ...more
“Pain doesn’t end when you stop taking painkillers. It gets worse.”

A memoir on addiction isn’t new, but the story of someone who has found an answer apart from the twelve-step and rehab programs is a point of view we don’t hear as often. The Weight of Air is a scathing indictment of our failed response to the opioid crisis, a story that exposes the danger of traditional recovery models.

“When addiction is equated with moral failure and opioids are lumped in with recreational drugs, we invalidate
Diana Lynn
Jul 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Thank you David for your heartbreakingly honest and well told tale of the pain, complexity and ultimately personal triumph through your life long struggles with depression and substance use.

Closing the book on this poignant story filled me with emotion and themes reflected back to me, as a mother of four, who has lost two beautiful young sons, six years apart (at ages 27 and 22 respectively) from unintentional overdose stemming from their debilitating anxiety and depression. The title of the bo
Aug 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
As someone who has struggled with depression for most of my life, this book was an uncomfortable example of how just wanting to feel like a 'normal' person in the world - and inside your own head - can quickly cause you to spiral out of control. A few people and/or actions mentioned were seriously disturbing, but the message behind this book is an important one about how society views addicts, and how they should be treated in order to be able to recover. What the author said in his epilogue spe ...more
Shelly J. Hogan
Sep 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and raw

This is an interesting and raw reading of the path of addiction, denial, and hope. I appreciate the struggle and the authenticity in sharing it. This provides insight into addiction and hope for the addict. Good read!
Oct 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book was assigned for my class on addictions in my Masters of Social Work program, and I’m really glad that my professor chose to assign it. The book was very well-written. It’s pretty uncommon for me to get so immersed in a book that I can’t put it down, so it says something that I finished this book in less than a week during midterms time. I loved David’s writing style and truly appreciated so much how open he was about his struggles. I felt like I was with him on his entire journey thro ...more
Jul 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Weight of Air exposes the stigma and general lack of understanding around addiction and mental health. Struggling with both alone for decades, the author is finally able to get the proper medical care and treatment based on science.

Throughout his story, you can feel the pain and shame felt after being forced through the 'one size fits all' traditional treatment model. It's no wonder we can't fix the national opioid crisis when evidence-based treatment options and harm reduction efforts cont
jennifer sclafani
A lifelong journey of addiction ,dark places where the lies are conceiveed.


David Poses is a gifted writer, brutally honest from the dark pit of addiction.
I can appreciate his pain , understand the struggle & cheered after he broke up the love affair with heroin. EXCELLENT READ
Jul 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a book about depression, addiction, and recovery at long last – thanks to suboxone. But it is also a book about deep shame, honesty, and living a dual life, until you can’t anymore. David Poses blows up the stigma of addiction and depression and lays bare his truth about some darks times in his life. I read The Weight of Air in one day and was captivated. I finished this book amazed by David’s journey and hope it can inspire others.
Caroline Kaye
Jul 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Just finished the book in one sitting. It was moving, nail-biting, well-written, not to mention important. I love autobiographies that read like fast-moving novels. Highly recommend!
Oct 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Read this after listening to an interview with the author on the Mayim Bialik Breakdown podcast. A fascinating look at one person's experience of opioid addiction and what it tells us about the opioid crisis in America, as well as the failure of 12 step programs to help with opioid addiction. ...more
Shelley Phillips
a must read

This book is a must read, if you’ve struggled with addiction , or have a loved one struggling. I highly recommend it!
Erinn Bromley
Jul 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Insightful and honest. It hooked me in right away. The dance between addiction, mental health and, the illusion of control is portrayed in this poignant story of a "functioning" opiate addict. Reminded me that harm reduction needs to be a prominent approach to addiction. ...more
Andrea | andrea.c.lowry.reads
David Poses’s memoir, The Weight of Air, captured my emotions from the very first page. His atmospheric storytelling made me feel as if I was fully immersed in his life and right beside him from the very beginning as he tried to get clean. My heart ached for him as he battled his depression and heroine use, and the way he described his feelings and processes of using and stopping are beyond words.

This was a book I could not put down. Even though David was telling a dark, difficult, and brutally
Mary Kay
Jun 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
David Poses uses his personal experience with drugs to spotlight the need we have to make medications like buprenorphine available and accessible for EVERYONE. The barriers need to be knocked down for these life-saving meds. David’s story is almost unbelievable, and yet so important for all of us to know. Our loved ones are dying everyday and these are preventable deaths due to failed drug policy. David Poses writes beautifully- definitely a good read
Lindsey Ingleby
Nov 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
David gives us a glimpse into depression and addiction that is seldom talked about, making this book so incredibly important. Thank you, David, for sharing your struggle and your journey with us!
Nov 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I read this as a sibling of an addict. My brother did not seek help in his own. I never understood how he could be so selfish with his decision to use. But reading this side of it, I can understand where he may have been in his life. He passed in an accident in 2017, having never pursued anything more than a couple of sessions of NA. And I wonder how if this book would have helped me see his actions in a different light at the time.
Susy Marchant-Myers
Sep 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read!! There are only a few books that have earned the privilege to read the second time after completing, this is one of them!
Christine Summers
Thank you for writing this book!

This book is a God send for me. I am the wife of an addict in recovery, and your story really opened my eyes. For the first time I understand why he tried to keep his addiction a secret from me for so long. I really didn't understand addiction! I also didn't understand why he wouldn't go to NA meetings. He did do a few but he did not like them. I like that you found a way to maintain your sobriety without the meetings. I also like that you describe life during sob
Jul 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
One of the most honest and raw stories of addiction and recovery I've read. I'm so grateful to the author for sharing his journey with the world. "Opioid addiction had become a national health emergency, and our response was driven by stereotypes, misinformation, and a pervasive disregard of science and evidence-in policy, treatment, and prevention." This is one more step in squashing the stigma behind addiction and looking more deeply into the lives of those who suffer. To the author, I say, th ...more
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David Poses is the author of the groundbreaking memoir The Weight of Air.

After hiding his struggle with depression and opioids for twenty years, David started opening up and challenging conventional addiction wisdom. He has been published by the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and New York Daily News and has appeared on national TV programs, including The Doctors Show, and numerous radio s

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