I was already looking for a way out of the Family well before the beginning of my last year.
I had been in and out of trouble for voicing opposition to a lot of things. But then there was one of those mini-waves of reform and the local tyrants got the boot and I found myself as local shepherd of a hopeless blob.
In order to re-establish chain control they made my home a district office and appointed a district shepherd to move in and take control.
I didn't mind too much as I was fed up with it all.
Then they forced me to go to another home as co-shepherd of an outreach home, leaving my son at the blob school.
The guy I was co-shepherd with was a total jerk and constantly stirring up problems trying to establish himself as the "top" shepherd. After a few months I was allowed to go back to the blob as just a teacher.
Then, due to an extreme lack of funds in the entire area, they began allowing some people to take work in the system. I formed my own little English school and began teaching in several companies. This was so appreciated that they let me also take work with an existing language school and a pre-school.
I now had sufficient income to live, although I was still turning it all in to the family.
Then one day I found out that they intended to send my stepson to a retraining type school elsewhere in Japan.
That was it.
That very day I had met, by a miracle, a man who offered to rent me an apartment without deposit or key money.
The next morning I and my stepson left the house early and caught a taxi into town. We secured the apartment while my wife continued sorting and packing. She joined us a couple of days later.
We were still officially in the family for another 9 months, the time we were still in Japan getting funds together to move. That was mostly just to keep peace with the family. A mutual agreement not to bother either each other. But in spirit we were OUT.
However, it took another few years to get the family out of us.