Dr Darrel Ray, author of "The God Virus" and creator of a network of support groups for people leaving their superstitions and beliefs behind, - RR (Recovering from Religion) - is someone to be admired for his compassionate work on behalf of others new to non-religion. He understands that people who have decided to call it quits with their religion face a difficult challenge. That challenge isn't embodied as much in adopting new ideology as it is in dealing with new social pressure.
A person leaving behind his former belief, the set of notions he has come to realize are unfounded by fact, has very little struggle understanding his own reason for deciding as he did. He knows his own mind and he's checked his perception of reality to satisfaction. The real struggle he faces is from outsiders, his former church friends. It comes from his own family and from his old friends who, with the best of intentions of course, try their hardest to prevent his new change of opinion and his decision to leave religion. Peer pressure falls hard on anyone leaving religion, and that's a fact.
Support groups like the ones Dr Ray has developed, while they may not be a "must do" step for everyone leaving religion, are a valuable asset for some. RR groups are a place tailor made for people who are new to non-religion. I recommend joining if you are just now walking away from religion. It makes good sense to have a friendly hand to hold, new or not, when faced with the kind of pressure that leaving religion can bring.
Taking the first steps to leave can be a tough decision. That's true enough. But the very first one, accepting yourself honestly as a non-believer is the easiest one... defending that decision, the next steps in leaving religion, is something altogether different unless one has the added strength of what RR offers. Leaving religion in the company of new friends makes the challenge so much easier. Join RR, find a friend to share with, and walk away.
.Its not an easy first step... but take it.