After the Truth (A.T.) is a peer support group based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for those who are leaving or have left a high-control group, cult or religious sect. Our desire is that no one suffers alone after they wake up from the deception and manipulation of a coercive, and controlling group.
We wish to create a safe environment, where we can share our knowledge about cults, and the mind-control, dehumanization, ostracism and abuse we experienced; but more so, the journey to towards building an independent and self-directed life, through our multi-faceted programming, which includes: support group meetings, social events and topical discussions. These three groups vary slightly in guidelines and goals.
Our main goal is to equip members with practical advice as they navigate through the aftermath of challenging post-trauma symptoms, distance themselves from a pseudo-identity and get in touch with their authentic selves. We believe that people are at different stages of change, with beliefs coming in many forms, so the acceptance and growth of people as unique individuals are something we value. However, we understand how difficult leaving a high-control group can be, especially when facing the loss of community, so our events also serve the purpose of making new social connections.
Our support group meetings are based on the book, The Challenge to Heal After Leaving A High-Control Group, by Bonnie Zieman, who was a former Jehovah’s Witness, and now a psychotherapist. It offers “vital information to help anyone free themselves from a high-control group, and to recover their autonomy and emotional equilibrium”. Persons interested in participating in this group should obtain a copy of this book, as well as the accompanying Journal, available on Amazon.ca, as soon as possible. Some other material may be referenced from leading cult experts and professionals such as Marlene Winell, Steven Hassan, and the ICSA. Please note that we do not claim to be the experts, so it is always recommended that people seek professional therapy in addition to peer support, and the advice found in this book.
Our Social Events are designed not only to find a new community but to introduce new interests and hobbies to grow your world. Gatherings will be held in a variety of venues and on civic holidays.
Our Discussion Group is geared towards those with questions about spiritual issues, ie, “does God hate me now that I left”, “will the world end tomorrow”, and such existential crisis. In regards to cult theology versus historical Christianity, being deprogrammed from these false doctrines can alleviate unnecessary anxiety and thought patterns. Religious discussions may be held during this meeting, but otherwise we ask that you follow guidelines regarding such discussion for the social and support groups, as some can be triggered by this.
We believe that by supporting one another, we can build hope, trust, and a life worth living – to go beyond surviving, to fully thriving!
* For privacy reasons we are a PRIVATE meetup group.
1. Demographics - Members must fit the criteria to join this group, namely born into, or long term involvement in a high control group or cult, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons.
2. Confidentiality – Keep member’s names and personal information about other group members confidential.
3. Arrive on Time – Guidelines will be reviewed prior to commencement of meetings. The support group will also run during specific times, so attendees are expected to arrive on time and stay until the end. Please contact the event organizer if you will be late or absent. RSVP’s are also equally important in coordinating events, so please try to respond either way.
4. Safety 1 – Based on the nature of support groups, many possibilities exist for individuals to become triggered or feel unsafe. Off limit topics at our social and support group events include:
a. Religious debate and proselytizing (except for Discussion Group)
b. Armageddon or end times
5. Safety 2 – Members should refrain from arriving under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs. Should alcohol be part of the social event, members are expected to stay within legal limit for driving, or use an alternative means of transport to get home.
6. Safety 3 – Use common sense when deciding whether to socialize outside of the group with other group members. Behavior such as bullying, sexual harassment and verbal or physical abuse will not be tolerated.
Support Group etiquette – Members are expected to:
a. Listen without interrupting.
b. Avoiding personal or side conversations during the meeting and keep cell phone use minimal.
c. Acceptance of differences including social, cultural, religious, linguistic differences and where an individual is in their recovery journey.
d. Validate each other, avoid judging each other, and assume the best about each other.
e. Giving helpful, noncritical feedback when asked.
f. Be mindful of the time so that everyone who wishes to share can do so.