During the first few days that I had really really (really!) decided I was sure that I was an atheist, I went through many feelings. My first feelings were of fear. I was afraid of being on my own. For so many years, I had believed that there was some divine being watching over me, giving me some kind of "edge" over the godless, providing that extra boost that would improve things for me.
Another fear was that I was seriously wrong and that there was a demon set aside just for me in hell.
I also had a feeling of freedom. There was the freedom from worrying about loved ones who weren't Christians, that if they never converted, they would go to hell. There was the freedom from someone being inside my head, knowing my every thought, judging me.
The world opened wide, spilling out knowledge I wasn't free to learn (I plan to read Origin of Species soon, see what all the hub bub is about), tons of viewpoints I had dismissed, alternate religions and philosophies to study...to learn even if I do not believe.
When I looked outside myself, outside my own culture and personal history, I found that there are many ways to think and to live and that was the downfall of my narrow, limiting religion.
And, yes, I feel a small amount of guilt for writing that statement, as if I am a turncoat of some kind. I hope that feeling will pass.