Written by Joe Putignano
Follow the author as he goes on a harrowing journey from the US Olympic Training Center to homeless shelters to shooting heroin on the job to being declared dead. This story goes beyond addiction. It is about the fragility and tenacity of the human spirit and how that spirit can redeem each and every one of us by helping to push us through the darkness, whether the darkness is from death, divorce, or the disease of addiction.
Acrobaddict is a story about the close relationship between athletics and drug addiction—how the same energy, obsession, and dedication that can create an Olympic athlete can also create a homeless drug addict.
“You will not read a more candid book this year. Prepare to be frightened and taken to the depths of despair and then lifted up triumphantly. It is never too late to hit the reset button on your life–that is what you are about to learn from Joe Putignano . He is equally adept at taking you through the remarkable journey of his own terrible addiction as he is in the world of acrobatics, descending from the Cirque du Soleil big top as a human mirror ball–the figurative spark of change in humanity.
This raw and emotional tale is a roller coaster through the depths of addiction, tragedy, hard work, and redemption that truly reflects Joe’s spirit and determination to stay clean in a world where he is surrounded by temptation. It is proof that with hard work, anything is possible.” – Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent
Joe Putignano talks to Anderson Cooper, on AC360 about heroin addiction and his memoir Acrobaddict.
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (Starred review) After reading former Olympic gymnastics hopeful Putignano's sinister yet intoxicating memoir of addiction, recovery, and more addiction, you wind up feeling like one of his closest friends. The first-time author, who now portrays Crystal Man in Cirque du Soleil's traveling production of Totem, divulges what must be nearly every significant detail of his journey from the basement of his parents' Massachusetts home, where as an 8-year-old he taught himself flips using old couch cushions; to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, where the author's insane quest for perfection exposed his insecurities and triggered his self-loathing; and finally to a seemingly never-ending series of addict escapades throughout his college and post-college years that somehow did not even climax after he was twice declared clinically dead. Putignano's homosexuality plays a crucial role in his story, and it is the one topic here he handles delicately. Elsewhere, his prose is unfiltered: graphic and intimate. Prone to hyperbole to the point of distraction, Putignano nevertheless writes so vividly about his highs that readers practically experience them with him. Similarly, his lows drop them into the private circles of hell on earth he created. A more powerful anti-drug missive would be tough to find. (Sept.)
Putignano, Joe. Acrobaddict. Central Recovery. Sept. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9781937612511. pap. $17.95; ebk. ISBN 9781937612528. MEMOIR (July 22, 2013) Dale Farris, Groves, TX–Former star acrobatic contortionist and gymnast of the Cirque du Soleil’s “Totem,” performer in Twyla Tharp’s musical The Times They Are A’changin, and guest on Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s CNN show Human Factor, Putignano, shares his heartfelt, emotionally wrenching story of addiction to heroin. Putignano’s memoir takes readers on an unsettling journey from his experience in the U.S. Olympic Training Center to homeless shelters to shooting heroin on the job, and even being declared dead. His vivid, brutally honest story begins with his realizing at an early age his innate talent for gymnastics, followed by his obsession with becoming an Olympic gymnastic champion, how he abandoned his Olympic hopes to chase his love of heroin, and ultimately how he managed to overcome his addiction and move into long-term recovery and stability. The narrative is replete with colorful descriptions of his many harrowing experiences, and deep musings that have formed the foundation for his commitment to remain free of drugs and a shining light for others who may be seeking guidance. VERDICT Putignano’s honest memoir of drug abuse is a valuable addition to substance-abuse literature. His status as a successful gymnast and performer helps connect readers, and his impressive, erudite style results in a highly credible addition to this rapidly saturating genre.
“Joey Putignano tells a harrowing story of a life redeemed at great cost. Try as you follow his words to picture the events–for this is a movie and must be seen to be believed.” –Twlya Tharp
“What I admire about Joe Putignano’s story is the way he drives the reader down the highway of life with exits of temptation along the way. Sometimes you get off on one of those, exits, but in the end you find the on-ramp to recovery.” – Mark Lund, Film Producer/Director
“Joe’s story is a fascinating modern-day odyssey.” – Robert Lepage, Creative Director, Cirque du Soleil’s Ka and Totem
"Joe Putignano's story of survival and hope against incredible odds is compelling. Understanding what drove him to drugs and, more incredibly, how he has successfully fought and continues to fights his demons, is the 'cautionary tale' that must be shared with everyone. I have had the pleasure of photographing Joe on several occasions, and it has always struck me how his stoicism clearly translates into all his images. His has not been an easy path, but having witnessed his bravery and fortitude of character, it is one that I find inspiring." – Mike Ruiz, Celebrity Photographer
Joe Putignano is currently working with Dr. Sanjay Gupta from CNN for a story about surgery and sobriety. Joe has undergone two extensive shoulder surgeries, but he cannot take any narcotic pain medication for it. Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Joe Putignano, are trying to raise awareness to the overprescription of narcotics, and help prevent addicts in recovery from relapsing. This story will air later this year.