Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ninety Days: A Memoir of Recovery by Bill Clegg

Ninety Days: A Memoir of RecoveryNinety Days: A Memoir of Recovery by Bill Clegg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is no prize for beating an addiction, there is no finish line. Like life itself, it's a work in progress.
You can't have it all. You have to choose, do you want your addiction or do you want life. You can't have both.
You get to a point where you're sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I never understood the AA philosophy until I read this book. I was reluctant to look at it because of it's emphasis on God or a higher power. I never liked the line "I accept I am powerless over drugs and alcohol" as the only way I could see to get sober was to take back the power from drugs and alcohol. But what this book really illustrated for me was the community aspect, how people can help each other, talk to each other, look out for each other. When you're at your lowest point you have someone in the same situation and the two of you are stronger together.

I don't know that I've ever relied on someone like that, that I have ever let my guard down enough to need someone else. With this book I hope to have made a step in that direction, to be able to trust.

I bought signed copies of the physical books and the ebooks for both of Clegg's book before reading a word. He is attractive, gay, powerful, someone I want to be. And you read the harrowing account, and it reminds me that we are all the same, all human. Everyone has plusses and minuses. Clegg has looks and power and fame and he also has a desire to throw it all away, to kill himself, to smoke crack. He has lied and cheated and stolen from those closest to him.

So many thoughts came out of this book, it's hard to summarize. I had to stop reading frequently to think.

Clegg mentions in this book feeling like there was a primer, a set of rules to live by and that he feels he's the only one who never got the memo. I've felt like that my whole life. This book has helped me to not put other people on a pedestal above myself, that they are not better, just different. We all bring something to the table.

This book has helped me realize that kicking the addiction is not the end of the process. There is a bigger picture, where you take the shame and the guilt and the reasons that led to the addiction and you get a chance, in the light of day, to see them.

I have not treated myself well, and I accept that, and now I am ready to try harder.

I have held on to guilt and shame and I am ready to release them and let something else fill that space in my life.

I have held myself back, been afraid, hidden in drugs and alcohol, hidden in myself, hurt myself. I see this now. I will not beat myself up for it, but will acknowledge these feelings and use them to help me be stronger, and braver and better in future. And to be myself.

Thank you, Bill Clegg, for sharing your journey. I wish us both luck.

View all my reviews

No comments: