After having left the church one of the things I found most amazing were the stories that were circulating around the church about me, I left and pretty much nothing changed about me except that I had eliminated God from my life. I continued doing what I always was doing which was basically taking care of my wife and family and working for a living, I never was into the street scene or hanging out or doing drugs or other illicit activities. My only vice that I still have till this day is beer, I enjoy my occasional beer from time to time at home with my wife. Yet some that knew me, specifically my brother in law said that I started drinking since I left the faith not knowing that I have been drinking beer since my last two years of high school.
When I joined the church of course I stopped drinking and smoking cigarettes, but when I left I picked up drinking on the weekends again but I never returned to smoking cigarettes. It has been 20 years since I last smoked a cigarette and I plan to stay this way since I find smoking a little bit repulsive, the very smell at times nauseates me. As I stated before religious beliefs are mostly fear based and I got my good dose of warnings and even so called prophecies about how bad things were about to get for me if I left the Lord. In fact, the total opposite happened; when I left the Lord and took back charge of my life things started to get better for me. Within a few months I was at a great job and ended up staying there for 7 in a half years. I was making good money and had a lot of perks that came with the job such as free access to books on all sorts of subjects before they even hit the market.
I recall one incident where I ran into a young man about my age after I left the church and it just so happened that when he saw me on the bus I was reading Darwins 'Origin of species'. He greeted me and he had his bible in his hand and the first thing that he asked me was what church I had been attending, I told him that I had become an atheist and that I no longer attended church nor had an interest in doing so. His reply was the standard trash about what a terrible thing it was to have known god then to have turned your back on him etc. Then when he glanced down at my book he said: " It is because you read trash like that that you have been lead astray". I immediately went on the attack and told him it is because you read and believe in your myths and fairy tales that you can't cope with reality. With that he seemed to get angry and walked away from me and that was the end of the conversation.
A couple of years later I ran into an old friend from the church on the street and when he saw me his face went pale, he called me and came running to me and gave me a huge hug. He told me that he had heard that I was dead and could not believe that I was still around, the rumor in the religious circles that knew me was that I had become a drug addict. Some even claimed to have seen me standing in various street corners nodding off on my feet as would someone addicted to heroine. It's almost as if for them to be able to validate their beliefs they wish you the worst to be able to demonstrate what happens to someone who turns his back on God. I grew tired of hearing from theists on the street that I met randomly after they heard my story would right out start with the death and hell threats etc.
I found that when I broke free from the fetters of religion that I was truly happy. I felt so free since I found that religious life for me was oppressive. Without god my thoughts and feelings are my own. I don't rely on fairy tales and myths to guide my life I rely on my own common sense and abilities to adapt to any challenges I face in my own personal life.