I originally posted this list on my 10 year anniversary of being out of the organization. I still think it is pretty good advice, so here it is again. I would love to make it a Top Ten List, but alas, I have only eight:
* "Courage doesn't always roar" - Don't let anyone make you think you need to leave in some glorious, dramatic way. Sometimes the drama is unavoidable, but if you can avoid it, there is nothing wrong with leaving slowly and quietly. And there is no shame in closing your blinds and hiding in your bedroom until the elders leave your doorstep!
* You don't have to try everything you were never allowed to do. If seems to me that those of us that were raised as a witness were like a spring being held down by a tight thumb. When we leave, the thumb comes off and the spring flies in every direction because ... it can! Release the spring slowly and don't try everything at one. And some things ... don't try at all!
* You can't save your family. They have to save themselves. The more you try to convince them they are wrong, the more that their paranoia is fed about you being an evil apostate being controlled by Satan. You have to accept them being "in", if you have any hope of them accepting you for being "out". They will leave when they're ready ... and no, they may not ever be ready.
* You will fear God, you will hate God, you will believe there is no God. Don't rush trying to figure it out. Many times, I have shelved the issue and just tried to enjoy living! In time, you will come to terms with what you want to believe or not believe. It is OKAY to sleep in on Saturday AND Sunday. Enjoy it!
* Stay away from religions for awhile. If any of the others get a whiff that you want to leave, they will try to "save you" and before you know it, you will be involved in another witness-like religion and not even realize it.
* You will probably become completely consumed with the "ex-JW' world". It will help you! You will find out the history of the Watchtower and research things you were never allowed before. You will meet people in the same boat as you who will bring you back from the edge. My warning is ... don't let it define you. At some point ... move on. It doesn't mean you can't come back and visit and I don't think it means you have to lose contact with people (like I did), but being constantly consumed with ex-JW forums and only having ex-JW friends is not healthy.
* If you ever choose to attend an apostafest ,,, they are great! But there will be at least one crazy person there that will act so bizarre that you will wonder why you ever left the witnesses. Don't let them rattle them! They were crazy in the "troof", they will be crazy out.
* It will get better! There were many times I truly felt suicidal. But 10 years from now, you will be a completely different person and will not even recognize who you are today. You will wonder why in the world you ever felt so afraid of a group of weeny little men in suits and ties!