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Struggling on the "outside"

Hi Everyone,

My story starts off when I was aged 40/41 around 1998/99 when my partner at the time thought it would be a good idea for us to have a talk with some JW's that she'd had contact with some years back. The idea being that it could help us with our relationship problems. I had only heard the name JW's before but knew nothing about them. I was reluctant but she finally persuaded me to talk with them. Eventually a very nice, smartly dressed couple arrived on our doorstep, smiling, briefcases in hand and offering introductions. We sat and small-talked for a while and then went onto relationships and then our relationship. Maybe a few bible texts were read to us but not much about religion was mentioned. They were nice people and later become my "good friends". However, looking back, the sole purpose of them coming to us was not to solve our relationship problems but to "spread the good news" and entice us into the JW org. The visits continued, they invited us to the meetings at the KH and to their house to meet other "friends".  They were normal, nice people and some still remain as friends today but with no social contact.

While I was becoming more absorbed in the JW way of life and promises and bible teachings, it was having the opposite effect on my partner. We argued more due to this and finally split after 8 years together. I left the home and was immediately consoled and welcomed with open arms by the JW's. I felt free from my turbulent relationship but really had little idea about what I was heading into.

As time went on I made new "friends" inside the congregation but bit by bit lost most contact with those outside. Sports clubs, activity groups, hobbies and even work all lapsed as time went on. I was slowly lured into the door to door preaching, answering at meetings, attending assemblies, personal study, bible studies etc etc... This was very gradual over about 4 years and by then it was taking up almost all of my free time. I made the decision to get "baptised" in 2002. My family didn't like it, some were shocked but I didn't think it a big deal really.

After many years of going to meetings and listening to the same old promises and bible texts, I slowly got bored. By then I had very little contact with the witnesses outside of congregation meeting times and therefore became increasingly lonely. I had already given up my "worldly" friends, hobbies, associations etc many years ago. 

I was going to a meeting or assembly and looking around the crowds of people, many of which also looked very bored and not interested and thought; "do these poor people really want to be here? do they honestly believe all of this? Are they just trapped? I concluded to myself no, no and yes to these questions. By this time I was becoming scared. I was struggling on the inside and knew I would struggle on the outside if I left. What to do? No support from family either. Non of them were JW's by the way.

I gradually took less and less part in meetings, missed a few, then went to only a few, then stopped altogether. My last meeting was over a year ago in 2012. I was also hounded by the elders but not so much. Now, although I have more time for other things I am still struggling socially. But I haven't considered going back as I don't have any strong belief in what is being taught and I don't have many connections with the people anyway. Now it seems like a fairy story. I read a lot of books before I met the JW's about evolution, the universe, theories etc etc. and also a bit of the bible. Today, I'm not sure what to believe. I have to keep an open mind. But I sympathise with those brought up in "the truth". What a shame. What a waste. Being brainwashed at such an early age should be illegal.

This is my story so far. I look forward to your comments.