As a jw I was taught that "worldly people", as non-jw's were called, were not to be trusted. I was taught that they were just waiting to take advantage of god-fearing people and break our faith. This us-versus-them mentality created great cognitive dissonance for me, because as far as I could tell, the "worldly people" I'd come into contact with treated me consistently better than the jw's I knew. But alas, I kept up my guard, lest I be ensnared by these "worldlings."
This lack of trust and need for control was very obvious when it came to the use of alcohol. Jw's are notorious for drinking too much. It is the only approved "drug" and so becomes abused more often than not. I never got drunk though as a jw. The honest truth was that I wasn't willing to relinquish that control. I didn't trust the people I was with to care for me when I was inebriated. While I didn't trust the "worldly people", it was clear that I trusted the jw's even less.
Last night, I got very drunk. Very drunk. Not throwing up sick drunk but drunk enough to realize that my defenses were down and I was in the hands of my friends. It went surprisingly well. No one tried to take advantage of me. There was no one trying to feel me up or coerce me into sex or get me to do lines off the bathroom floor. I was amidst people who cared about me and my safety. They walked me home and made sure I was safe and sound.
Now I realize that I've been fortunate to find really great friends post-jw. But I firmly believe that most people are like the "worldly" friends I have; honourable, respectful, caring people who sincerely want to be there for you. A far cry from my jw past.
Every time I break down one of these belief systems from my past I feel a lightness come over me. I feel freer, more clear, more safe to be in this big world. I am grateful for these lessons. I am grateful for the people in my life who teach me each day without even knowing how profoundly they're affecting my journey. I thank each one of you blessed souls. Namaste.