Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Ninety Days is a powerful account of an addict's journey to recovery, by a writer "as intoxicated by language as he was by crack". The goal is ninety-just ninety-clean and sober days to loosen the hold of the addiction that caused Bill Clegg to lose everything. With six weeks of his most recent rehab behind him, he returns to New York and attends two or three meetings each day, avoiding the people and places of his drinking and using life. It is in these refuges that he befriends essential allies, including Polly, who struggles daily with her own cycle of recovery and relapse, and the seemingly unshakable sober Asa.
At first, the support is not enough; Clegg relapses with only three days left. Written with compromised immediacy, Ninety Days begins where Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man ends - and tells the wrenching story of Clegg's battle to reclaim his life. As any recovering addict knows hitting rock bottom is just the beginning.
The complete opposite of the last book I read about addiction (The Wolf Of Wall Street), Clegg paints a very relate-able view of addiction and recovery. Moving back to the city after a 6 week stay in rehab, Clegg has to discover how to avoid relapse with no outside force requiring his sobriety. Living in his brother's office with no money, Clegg focuses all his efforts on attending multiple addicts meetings each day where he finds the community and support system he needs to reach ninety days.
Lately I've been craving non-fiction. Weirdly, I've grown sick of plots with beginnings, middles, and ends. Life isn't organized like this. Therefore, I've been drawn to memoirs where there is a sense that this is only a snapshot of someone's life, not the entire thing. In Ninety Days, Bill Clegg does a great job of relaying this sense of reality which I've been craving. He takes the reader though his battle with coke and alcohol. From what I gather, his experience with addicts meetings and relapses is very similar to the experience of others. Thankfully, I have never had an experience with addiction myself or with people I know, but Ninety Days has made me more understanding to people in those positions and provided insight into the recovery experience.