Yes, it's really hard living with out the constant guilt, and I miss going to the Kingdom Hall and being bored to tears for hours every week. Seriously, this is just one of the manipulations of the Borg. They repeat this so much that it becomes part of your thinking. When people do return, it confirms what they have been trained to think, but the fact is those people returned because they were shunned, not because they missed the religion. And many people don't return, but in that case the dubs don't know about it, and don't realize they are actually doing quite well, once they get over the pain of losing loved ones. It's bias confirmation at its best.
I have been out 13 years. I have some health issues, but other than that, life is good. I have a small creative business that I love, I am happily married, I have good friends, I do some volunteer work. My kids are grown and gone, both doing well, happily married and they have gifted me with two adorable grandkids. I have a lovely home and no money worries.
I just saw my sister last night, she has been shunning me, but my husband and I were vacationing in the town where she lives and she agreed to met us for dinner (I think her non dub husband pressured her) The few times I have talked to her the last few years, I realized she remembers all the negative things she hears from me, exaggerates them, and forgets the good things. So she was a bit puzzled that I was happy and felt and looked pretty good, I sensed that was not what she expected. I could see the conflicting emotions at play, she is happy that I am doing well, but at the same time, it challenges her beliefs to think I am happy.
For example, I told her previously that my mother always compared me to her, unfavorably, and that when I was a kid, it hurt me. So last night she says, appropriate of nothing , "you still hate mom". She took that one thing I said and built it up in her mind as proof that I am this unhappy, bitter person. It's crazy, my mom was hard to live with, she was very moody and hyper critical, but I got over it a long time ago. Any person has both good and bad things happen growing up, and my Mom was good in many ways. But that is cult mind control at work, they accept what confirms, reject what doesn't. It's a cult.