Eric Hoffer says we'll probably never recover completely
I think it depends on how Hoffer defines a 'fanatic'.
I don't feel adrift or 'off the rails' but ofcourse I never have been a true fanatic...I was silent, shy and insecure infact within the religion. When I did research and based on that discarded religion I began feeling more secure; the paths I take and the things I do are now based on reason and knowledge. Not that I know it all, but I can now defend my opinion better because I thought it through before accepting it. I think for myself now. Nobody can do that for me...
I believe it is possible to overcome, depending on the level of an individual's involvement with the cause. However I believe that, for me and many others, Hoffer's assertion has much merit.
I was a true believer for many years. I took comfort in many (generally all) aspects of the JW religion. Learning the truth about The Truth has ripped apart something inside of me that will never be put back together.
I have made many wholesome and positive adjustments in my thinking and I believe that in some ways I'm happier than I was ten years ago. I also believe that I will become continually happier the further I get from my JW experience. Still, every vestige of my 30+ years as a Dub will not and, reasonably, cannot be totally expunged from me any more than my memories of childhood and THEIR effects can.
I am Captain Picard who will go to my grave with living memories of my time in the Borg still alive and well deep in my psyche.
I dissagree with the statement from Mr. Hoffer, that we can never heal from our experiences. There is a period of time, which differs from individual to individual, due to just how much their psychy was attached, as to how long it takes to heal. Also, the healing process has to be a "choice". It doesn't happen automatically no matter how much time passes. The affects of it's damage on us needs to be addressed right up front, which is a painful process. We tend to delay it because we know it will hurt. Simply walking away will not do that. It will indeed haunt you forever, unless you take steps to rid your entire being of it's affects.
And, even then, the scars are still there. Should we chose to continue to dwell on the past and how it hurt us, these scars will continue to be not quite healed. Just as death of loved ones is a tremendously sad thing, and affects us forever, we can heal from the loss, as long as we want to heal. When we realize that our memories are taking us down a morose and depressive avenue, we turn back toward the reality of our existence in the present.
This is an excellent thread, by the way.