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Ninety Days: A Memoir of Recovery Hardcover – April 10, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Clegg follows his gut-wrenching Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man with an equally stark tale of the hard and ongoing work of recovering from addiction."―Vanessa Bush, Booklist

"Clegg's spare, nearly minimalist style complements the drama inherent in his material: it's addition through subtraction. . . .With understated craft, Clegg has written a harrowing story."―Publishers Weekly

"Standing out among the many similar works on addiction and recovery, Clegg's intellectual story of his never-ending struggle for sobriety and his heartfelt, passionate revelations will directly touch the hearts of readers. His personal perspective also nicely supplements the many helpful guides to addiction recovery from professional therapists that target the friends and family members of addicts."―Library Journal

"This sequel is about [Clegg's] recovery - the circular pattern of stupefyingly tedious rehab and harrowing relapse. And yet it's suspenseful: We come to care about Clegg, whose voice is engaging and who never gets mired in self-pity."―National Post

"[Clegg] tells the story in plain, innocence-drenched sentences that bring to mind the wonderful Edmund White, as if to adorn the events would be dishonest. It is a bedtime story for adults, filled with first names only-Jack and Polly, Jane and Jean, Asa and Madge, Luke and Annie. A soothing and intimate book, and we hope Clegg has found peace at last."―The Daily Beast

About the Author

Bill Clegg is a literary agent in New York. He is also the author of Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316122528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316122528
  • ASIN: 0316122521
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,201,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"That craving, once it begins, is almost impossible to reverse... It's like Bruce Banner as he's turning into the Incredible Hulk. Once his muscles begin to strain against his clothes and his skin goes green, he has no choice but to let the monster spring from him and unleash its inevitable damage."

This is one of the many insights into the disease of addiction that Bill Clegg reveals to his readers as he describes the arduous journey he took to achieve his first 90 days of sobriety. Anyone not familiar with the phenomenon of substance abuse and its ramifications would find it difficult to understand how a person who has literally lost everything of value could even think of using again. In NINETY DAYS, Clegg candidly shares how and why such a relapse occurs, often more than once, even when the decision to remain sober has been made.

After more than three months in rehab, Clegg returns to New York where he plans to live in his brother's office during non-business hours. The rest of his time will be spent going to Twelve-Step meetings, working with the tools for living that he had been given in treatment, and trying to figure out how to salvage something from the wreckage that had become his life. He quickly learns that those folks he meets in the program, those "counting days," are sincerely eager to help newcomers, and he soon finds himself among sober friends. This is a new experience, the first among many to follow.

Despite acquiring a sponsor, a mentor who will help guide him on his journey, and despite some close friends he makes, the temptation to use is always lurking in the background. Jack, his sponsor, warns him to stay away from people, places and things that might trigger a relapse.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this in an afternoon after I read Clegg's first book a few days ago.
While it had more analysis than the first one, I still felt like I wanted
more. I wanted to know WHY? Why was he suicidal? Why is he afraid to be alone?
Why does he feel so damn entitled? (He gets out of rehab in debt and rents
a studio in Chelsea for 2500! huh?) Brooklyn or Queens are not good enough
for him? just like he had to do crack in the ritziest hotels downtown.

Lots of interesting stuff about recovery and the people he meets in the
AA meetings, although I disliked the preachy tone of the last chapter.

I realize an author has to make decisions about what to leave out so
I hope in real life he has gone much deeper than in the book. No
mention of therapy. Was that omitted or is he in analysis?
I wish the author luck and hope he stays clean and sober

Wanted to add I got both books from the library and I recommend
that. Both books are slim volumes you can read in a few hours.
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Format: Paperback
There is no question that Mr. Clegg can write. Especially for this modern age where long newspaper articles and longer books have been eclipsed by dramatic sound bites and fingertip tweets. His writing is taut and lean and relatively free of self indulgent tangents. Even in this post-rehab tale, it still takes you on the roller-coaster of addiction and through the always tenuous mindset of an addict in the early stages of recovery.

At the same time, I came away from this book thinking that Mr. Clegg had stumbled across one insight and one insight only, the same insight that plagues those who seem to lack the ability or desire for true introspection: constant meetings are the only answer.

Don’t get me wrong; whatever works for sobriety, great, use it. But what I got from this, what continues to stir in the pit of my stomach, is less about the wonder and efficacy of meetings and more about a guy who is completely terrified of being alone with himself. If one lives in a state of constant fear about a mind they possess, or that possesses them, a mind they fear far more than they understand, yes, distraction might be the best bet. It’s also a dangerous message: your mind is the enemy and instead of looking into it, just stay busy. Isn't this the same flight from mind that often gives rise to addiction? Doesn't this fly in the face of an old meeting slogan - what you resist persists? What happened to “know thyself” which is printed on many sobriety coins?

I don’t care what the issue is – fighting cancer, weight loss, addiction – a support system is wise.
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Format: Hardcover
I absolutely loved Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man--it was harrowing, it threw the reader into each moment, and achieved a sense of coherence even within its chaos. The author didn't include any "writerly" self-awareness in that book, because it wasn't necessary; it was simply the telling of a drug-fueled story as he recalled it.

Ninety Days, however, suffers from a complete and utter lack of self-awareness even after the author is well into recovery, and the book fails as a result. The author is self-pitying throughout (dramatically dropping to the ground, throwing lamps, screaming into the wind), but any awareness of his self-pity registers only through others' observations, not his own self-realization or growth. In "Portrait," he was somewhat annoyingly woe-is-me, but that was acceptable because he was getting high the entire time so there was almost no breathing room for analysis of his character. Now, even during his moments of clarity/not using (not to mention that he should have achieved some growth during the 5 years between hitting his "90 days" and finishing the book), he is just a cry-baby about everything that HE caused. For example, he's upset that Asa doesn't show up to his 1-year meeting, yet he fails to have any self-awareness to understand that it's because he seduced Asa and then dropped him when he met Elliot (with whom he started a relationship even though everyone, sponsors included, told him not to--a choice that he "[doesn't] regret," even with the writerly distance, which further shows his lack of awareness). If he had any real revelations, or any genuine discussion of himself (aside from the basic recitation of the events), the reader would be drawn in.
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