The Difficult Process of Integration, The Reward of Deep Healing


Few deconverts from Christianity sail through their recovery with relative ease – no sense of loss, no healing needed, no residual ghosts that continue to haunt their present lives. But for most of us, deconversion is a long and painful rehabilitation process. Only other deconverts know the anguish initiated by that first disillusionment. Then the long-sustained heartbreak of no satisfying resolution provided by the deity we had for so long trusted and worshipped. And finally, the painful process of deprogramming deeply ingrained patterns of thinking and behavior. The list of difficulties is much more extensive, but you know what I mean.

The purpose of this blog is to nurture further our healing and recovery. Like recovery from physical or mental illness, parts of our journey involve milestones of progress and others, painful recuperation. This post in particular focuses on a less pleasant, but critically necessary, step to wholeness. This can be quite difficult, but most often produces the greatest benefit. It requires courageous authenticity.

Following are some questions from my heart. They are not intended to resurrect unresolved pain for no purpose, but to face that which holds us back from full healing. Until then, our deconversion is incomplete. I don’t intend to live the rest of my life plagued by ghosts of brainwashing, still tormenting me in the back of my mind and affecting my current wellness. I won’t settle for being less than whole and I won’t be utterly defined by my deconversion. Facing our “demons,” answering these questions and bringing their true answers to light allows a tremendous amount of perspective… and restoration to a state better than before our deconversion began… So here goes:

What are you still experiencing as the aftermath of your deconversion?

Do you ever have doubts about whether you’ve chosen the best path for you? If so, what are they? If not, what makes your certainty now different from your certainty as a believer?

Do you ever fear apostasy and biblical punishment for it? Why do you think that is?

Is there anything positive you take away from your Christian experience? Any lessons or wisdom you still find applicable? Any values you adopted still relevant?

Honor your authentic truth. Examine your answers in light of your current knowledge and values. Integrate the former with the latter and you’ve found a path to wholeness.

2 thoughts on “The Difficult Process of Integration, The Reward of Deep Healing

  1. I came out of a liberal mainstream Protestant church. So there were a lot of positives there that I like to think I have kept. All the teachings about loving one’s neighbor, tolerance, compassion, that was all good stuff. Unlike the fundagelical churches, there were some good lessons on self-esteem too. “God don’t make no junk” was a saying often used. I’ve translated that into non-religious terms for myself, but the idea of the worth of individuals is still sound.

    I kept the music too – choral singing is still something I do. But I miss the close-knit youth group that would sing at the drop of a hat, and don’t really have a way to get that back. I went to a reunion of that youth group a few years back. The singing was still there, but then they launched into prayers and bible study, and I just couldn’t. (I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t, either.) The loss of having a really close circle of friends who really accept you was probably my biggest loss in leaving religion. But it’s been thirty years, and I’m still doing OK without it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your reply, Ubi. I think it’s so neat you still see the value in the tolerance, compassion and closeness you experienced as a Christian. I also think it’s cool you are able to discern what doesn’t align with your values anymore and stay true to yourself. Thank you so much for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

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