Joe Putignano

Author, "Acrobaddict"

February 2014


Why did you agree to this interview:

I did this interview because I think it’s important to get the message out, that recovery from addiction is possible. I once believed, like so many out there, that I could never stop using heroin, but this isn’t true.  It’s not easy, and it may take several times, but it is…possible.


How long have you been working in this industry as an acrobat?

I’ve been working in the industry as an acrobat for almost 10 years.


How was it working for Cirque du Soleil?

I worked with Cirque du Soleil for 3 years, over 1000 shows.  It was a childhood dream to work with them.  To be honest, I never imagined a life without a crippling heroin addiction, so Cirque was one of those dreams that were never going to happen.  Working with them was incredible.  It was physically difficult, but most great things in life come with a challenge. 


What has been your greatest accomplishment so far:

I always give the same answer to this question, lol.  My sobriety is my greatest accomplishment in life, because it was the one thing I couldn’t do.  I know I could lose it someday, and it has become very precious to me.


Was having the release of your memoir "Acrobaddict" nerve-wrecking?

Putting a memoir out into the world can definitely make one vulnerable.  I wrote about all my demons, embarrassing moments, difficulties, and my self-hatred, for others to read.  I wanted to connect with other people’s pain to be able to relate to those who are still suffering.  In the end, it was worth being vulnerable, because I have had a great response to the book.  I hope it is helping other people out there on some level. 


The reviews are also very positive, did this provide you with confidence to venture in a new direction, career-wise:

I’ve actually been writing since I was young.  My mother was always a big reader, and I thought the only way to communicate with her was through literature.  She had her own drinking problem and would sit on the couch and read, so I believed my writing, was a way to find her. 


What made you want to tell this harrowing story of yours?

I was actually writing a different book about Eugenics, which I am writing now.  A good friend of mine, Robert Lepage, who I admire creatively, suggested I write my own story, because it could help others. 


When was the moment that made you realize "Enough is enough" and made you seek guidance/help/treatment:

I had many moments of “enough is enough,” so many infact, that I call it a lifetime.  I also have a lifetime of “should haves, could haves, if only, and one more time.”  It was because of this, that I never gave up on trying to get clean.  Perseverance is key. 


What do you wish for? 

It's cliché, but I do wish for peace in my life.  If I have peace, I don’t have to struggle with everything else. 


What makes you happy? 

BEAGLES!!!!  I love beagles more than anything. 


What is your favorite song at the moment, and of all time? 

Hhhhmmm, great question. I have a bunch, but my go to song is still “Terrible Love” by The National


What are some of your favourite movies? 

The Hours….it's perfect.


What is your biggest guilty pleasure? 

CHOCOLATE or ice cream


Describe yourself in 5 words:

confused, playful, creative, driven, passionate.


Describe your fashion style: 

I’m from the 90’s, lol.  So I still like to wear ripped jeans and old t-shirts. 


What do you most value in people? 

Integrity, loyalty, and honesty…dammit!


What is your idea of the perfect date? 

Lol, the perfect date, is when something embarrassing happens to both of us, that way we can be two humans feeling stupid, instead of two robots pretending to be what we are not.  Date face is a terrible, manipulative condition that we all default to out of fear. 


Name 2 things people don't know about you: 

I want to be an actor (I don’t tell anybody this),

I have to have 3 more surgeries this year -  Injuries sustained while performing.


What is your motto? 

Be young, be wild, BE WICKED!


Where do you see yourself in 3 years? 

I pray I have finished the second book I am working on.  Other than that, I hope I’m still sober and pushing forward.  I’m open to new possibilities


Any last words: 

Till death, do us part ;)?

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