90 Days, A Memoir of Recovery by Bill Clegg is a short novel that packs a lot of drama into an easy-to-read 194 pages. A follow up to his Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man, Clegg painfully details the many relapses and missteps along the way to finally achieving 90 consecutive days of sobriety. It’s a clear and convincing story of the possibility of recovery. However, it paints a humbling picture of the many challenges one will face on this journey.
Clegg’s drug of choice was crack. Before he started abusing it he was a hotshot young literary agent who represented famous authors, had plenty of friends and co-owned his own agency in New York city. After his addiction started to take its toll he basically lost it all and burned many bridges along the way.
However, Clegg was extremely fortunate in still having a few resources to fall back on in addition to his skills as a writer. A prepaid gym membership gave him something to help fill his days and one angel of a friend left gourmet groceries on his doorstep ever week. He managed to beg and borrow enough to pay the rent. Given this gift of time, he was eventually able to acquire the wisdom to start on his path to sobriety.
What Clegg was able to find was the grace to accept that he couldn’t achieve sobriety on his own. Lasting sobriety was only achievable through immersion in a supportive community of others in recovery. It proved as essential to give support and encouragement as to receive it. In his words:
My sobriety, that delicate state that can, for years at a time, feel unshakeable, is completely dependent on my connection to other alcoholics and addicts, my seeking their help and my offering it… . ”
This book should serve as a valuable addition to the canon of literature about addiction and recovery. It provides an unflinching, yet ultimately sympathetic depiction of the humanity of those struggling to recover from addiction. It also proves that even frequent relapses are just part of the process and not unalterable failures.