First time in my twenties it was many bone dry years of total spiritual and emotional desolation; lived some of the happiest years after that.
After a couple of years I felt I had to return because it was supposed to be the truth.
Second time around I had slowly grown to extremely dislike the whole system and hierarchy but felt I should now stay because it was supposed to be the truth and had already left once.
If only it were not the truth...
then, one day one of my best JW friends pointed out to me a brief essay on 607 which I read and I can still remember the sudden and overwhelming joyous realization within just a matter of seconds that I now was free to go... which I did without hesitation cold turkey. Have found unexpected and miraculous rewards in spiritual fulfiment and in my work that have more then ever restored my faith in whatever is out there.
After many years I have finally learnt to ultimately trust only the humble inner voice that for all those year was in vain trying to tell me something unabatedly despite the fact I distrusted its admonitions for so long. Finding that truth was my award.