@ - YinzerDad - Welcome dude, i really enjoyed the anology of that book, its very pertinent for all of us. I look forward to "hanging" with you here, and with everyone else.
I can relate to a LOT of what you say. I was a born in, also, and was baptised, hence DF'd. I was lucky enough to be, unfairly, kicked out at 22 years old. I also, was never directed, and or prepared for college. I had incredibly high grades in school, and was always in accellerated classes. My grades were so high, that i was being offered fully paid scholarships at the age of 13. I declined EVERY one, do to not "pursuing higher education".
When i was "booted" at 22 years old, i was left "high and dry". No higher education, no "friends", no social circle, we all know the deal. Fortunately, i did NOT let it dictate me, and my future. I started a small, simple little, part-time business, with a "good idea", and $1500.00 bucks.
NOW, at 40 years of age, i run the multi-million dollar company, that i own, and started 19 years ago with $1500.00 dollars. I became a landlord at 25 years old, and continue to buy multi family, investment properties. I am a father of 2 girls, with a loving partner.
All of these years, i have, and continue to, struggle with having been raised as a JW in a high control cult. It is "with me" everday, and in many thoughts and decisions, BUT i vowed to never let it "BEAT ME", and dictate my life. I do struggle with it, but vowed to overcome it, many years ago.
I recommend "living" for and thru your children. I HAVE hobbys, too. I collect G.I Joes, Transformers, and stuff i like. I transformed my 2 car garage, into a "collectors dream". Its basically like my own "toy store", in my backyard. I collect, and paint Civil war figures. I go on many, many, little vacations, and getaways, with my family, all the time. We love it, and it keeps us close as a family. Yet, i still struggle EVERYDAY, with having been raised a JW. My wife, who knew NOTHING about JW's before we met, sees it sometimes, and realises that it has had an "affect" on me.
My point being, though, is not to brag, but to show that you CAN still enjoy, and create for yourself an awesome life, and STILL with the "scars" of a JW past. It may never go away COMPLETELY. We may never "get over it", and thats FINE. We must learn to "live" with it, and what we must do is put things in "perspective". In all situations in life, there is good and bad. We must hold on to the good, deal with the bad, but not let it ditate our lives.
You ARE way ahead of the game, dude. You HAVE a lot going for you. Nurture that good, develop those positive things, and learn from the negatives in our pasts. Yes it IS there, but do not let it CONTINUE to "control" you. YOU are in control now, and YOU are the maker of YOUR own destiny. You are young, and WILL, probably get a hobby, or a passion. Try different things out. Heck, i started buying and collecting Nerf guns, for example. I then, had fun "modifing" them, so they could shoot further. It was FUN. The simple things in life can be. Enjoy your family, make work as enjoyable as ya can, find a hobby by trying things out, and remember you will NEVER be able to go back and NOT have been born as a JW, but you CAN enjoy life still and change the here and now and your future.