Growing Up And Doing Better

Is It Ever Too Late To Make Amends?

Janelle Annemarie Heideman
4 min readOct 16, 2019


Photo by Deniz Altindas on Unsplash

Last night I did something I’ve never done before. I admitted — out loud, to someone else — that I have an addiction to food.

It’s something I am still unpacking and plan to talk about more after I’ve processed it, but it made me think about my other addictions. And my patterns of addiction in general.

Me and My Addictions

You see, in my teens and early 20’s, I had a pretty raucous relationship with alcohol. When ordered by a court-appointed referee to visit a number of AA open groups to determine if I had a problem with alcohol, I discovered that my drinking was, in fact, an issue.

As the man sitting next to me at one meeting put it, “If you are sitting in an AA meeting, asking yourself if you might have a drinking problem, you probably do.”

So I quit, kind of cold turkey. I hit the first step of AA — admitting I was powerless over alcohol — but I never went any further.

Why? I don’t know, completely. As an agnostic/borderline atheist most of my life, I never really cared much for the idea of a “higher power,” or leaving it up to this power I had a hard time believing in.

Regardless of my reasons, I have always felt like I left out some important parts of the process toward recovery.

Lack of Maturity?

When I was attending meetings I often heard others characterize addiction in terms of lack of maturity and selfishness, as if an addict is permanently locked into that quasi-sociopathic state that all adolescents go through in which they are the only thing that matters in their own world.

I think this characterization is a bit of a simplification, but there is much validity to it. In other words, to grow in the direction of recovery, you need to grow up and take responsibility for your actions.

I’m not sure that I ever really did that.

Am I Recovering? Can I Call Myself Sober?

I’m over thirty years alcohol-free. I am not sure I would say “sober,” though, because as I have mentioned, there have been other things I’ve self-medicated with over…



Janelle Annemarie Heideman

Educator, writer, LGBTQ+ advocate, avid reader. Novelist in progress. Website: Empowering the LGBTQ+ community one word at a time.