"What cult were you in and how did it affect your life? How did you cope after leaving and what advice or insights do you have for others?"
I was a member of The Church of Immortal Conciousness, at that time of Mesa and Tonto Village Arizona.
I count myself extremely fortunate and blessed that I managed to walk away. It is a very abusive, destructive group.
I walked away, thinking that perhaps I wasn't good enough. Fortunately I came upon the Rick Ross site and began reading through, also read books on themes of cults and thought control.
I suggest reading, reading, reading. Several good books available on what a cult is and on how to begin recovering. Time helped also, took awhile for me to shake off being immersed in a cultic world, to stop using and thinking in that special loaded language they have.
Vital to pay attention to basics. Plenty of sleep and rest, good food, stability, humor, fun. Keep a journal if possible. Give yourself plenty of time. Believe yourself, listen to your intuition.
Participating in this helped immensely, I gave a day and a half or so deposition of my experiences. Videotaped and transcribed, with attorneys, and also with one of the leaders Stephen Kamp present.
I cried during much of the testimony and know Stephen and his attorneys did what they could to intimidate me. Yet I persisted and am very happy that I did so.
Living in a cult impacted my life dramatically. It reinforced my experiences as an abused child. It deepened my symptoms of PTSD. Yet I survived and also thrived.
I assumed that after all that I would never be vulnerable to a destructive group again. But I've found that I still need to be alert and aware. I was influenced for several years by a group of people online. Healing is an ongoing process and there will always be someone out there who wants to take advantage of us. I don't always make good choices, I am human, but I do indeed learn from each experience.
Read, take good care of yourself, find a therapist if possible, give yourself time. Treat yourself well.