Ninety Days, by Bill Clegg
Ninety Days is a revealingly honest account of the author’s battle to be free from drug addiction. Through this account, the reader may feel his turmoil. Bill Clegg speaks with an openness that transforms his history into a gripping read, stripped bare to the very truth of his experience. Ninety Days is a memoir of a journey to recovery, encompassing stories of more than one life saved by the healing friendship of others in similar circumstances.
Ninety Days is a personal account; as a reader, one can really appreciate his honesty and the courage it must have taken to create this insight into his life. The voice of the author, speaking throughout the text, differs to that of the voice in a fictional story; resonating truth and clarity. His rendition of events is not overdone; he writes quite simply, yet his occasional use of metaphorical imagery allows you to feel that you can glimpse his reality to some extent, and feel his struggle. I particularly found this to be the case through his description of walking up the flight of stairs towards his flat, desperately trying to keep quiet, and dropping a shoe, leaving him with no choice but to work his way excruciatingly back up from the very bottom. This description parallels the turmoil he felt during his climb from addiction to sobriety. The entirety of the novel is gripping, and easy to read in just a couple of sittings. He hasn’t tried to make the plot long and complicated; his experiences are interesting to read just as they are.
Another important element of Ninety Days is the theme of friendship within the circle of those trying to recover. He recounts memories of friends who supported him and saved his life in their ability to relate to him and through their encouragement, imploring him never to give up. Clegg demonstrates the importance of this support for one another as they surrounded themselves with others who were in the same difficult situations. The friendships he made with others recovering from addiction appear to be on another level to all others he has had, as they share experiences that others can’t possibly understand. Clegg explains that, for him, having help from others in similar circumstances to his own was the only way out; the most important thing in the recovery process was knowing that others were trying to do the same and knowing that they might be relying on his dedication as much as he was relying on theirs. He explains the importance of having a purpose again, even staying clean in order to be a role model and stop others from relapsing themselves. Clegg illustrates how liberating it can be to learn to be an inspiration for someone else no matter how much despair you yourself may feel. This book is a reflection of his appreciation in being able to reach out and help others with similar experiences.
As this memoir draws to a close, the intensity of Clegg’s voice increases. His impassioned advice highlights further that this is a private story, an insight into his reality. He reveals details of his life that he previously kept secret, memories which he felt anchored him to the past but has chosen to reveal in order to benefit others. It is a privilege to have been able to read a memoir that is so honest, admirable, and brave.