Book Review: The Weight of Air
Can I just be honest and tell you that I am 20 books behind in my Goodreads goal? I mean, honestly, I don't know who I think I am thinking I'm going to get there. I keep thinking that I'm going to have some crazy weekend where I catch up, but I think we all know the likelihood of that happen is about the same as me winning the lottery. But! I do have some to share with you this week and next, but beyond that... I need to get my poop in a group, folks.
The Weight of Air - David Poses
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 reveals that traditional recovery models 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.
First off, wow. I mean, if I could legitimately leave you with a one word review, that's the word I would choose, and it's not even a great word. I could not put this book down and when I finished it I felt as if I had been holding my breath the entire time and I had to gasp for air. When I tell you this was a good book, it was a really freaking good book.
You know I'm a fan of a good memoir, but you give me a memoir about mental illness and I am here for it. I know next to nothing about addiction or recovery, but listening to people detail their story about either/both and I'm just absolutely fascinated. Drugs and/or alcohol changes your brain in strange ways and changes how it functions, and I always am interested in how it is different for different people. I really got sucked into David's story because his story is presented like a chicken versus the egg story, was it the depression or the addiction that caused the other? Which, I know people in my life who that debate would absolutely apply to, while others it's pretty clear which one came first.
Especially when we live in a time where depression is rampant, we're learning that more people than not struggle with some form of mental illness, though many are either in denial or tell nobody and seek little to no help, it's no wonder people turn to substances that can take them away from that, even if it's only a short while. Also, as someone who has never struggled with substance abuse or addiction, I appreciated the frankness of what living with that is like, but also edging it with humor. It's the perfect balance of getting serious, but not too serious where it feels like you're being lectured. I learned so much about how difficult it actually is to get help and successfully recover, for the long haul, and how it isn't as easy as "just stop doing it". While I clearly know you can't just do that, I think society is conditioned to think if you just go to a few meetings, you'll be fine, but there is so much more than that, not to mention all of the things in your life that become tangled with your addiction. It can mean literally leaving your safety area, and even those of us in the best situations would struggle with that.
I struggle with mental health issues and I thank the stars every day that I haven't had to worry about addiction. My biological father is an alcoholic, and probably on some prescription medication that affects his day to day living, so I know genetically, I'm predisposed to addiction. I know it every time I take a prescribed medication that could potentially be addicting. It scares me outright so it's a one and done because I don't know where that road would take me but I'm can bet it wouldn't be good.
I so highly recommend this one if you yourself are in recovery, or even thinking about recovery. If you're teetering on the edge of addiction and you can still step back, this book is for you. If you have a friend or family member struggling, this would be a great read for you to understand the situation they are in. Honestly, given the pandemic and knowing so many are quietly struggling, this feels like a book we all need.
Thank you so much to TLC Book Tours and Sandra Jonas Publishing for sending me a copy for review.This post contains affiliate links.