When I started I was kind of in the same boat. I made my account a year before I restarted in April, and I never made it past reviewing the first set of radicals. I was annoyed that I had to wait, and I didn’t have the funds to pay for WK at the time. So I forgot about my account and found a Memrise course that taught Joyo kanji, and I spent a few months learning them and got to around 1000 kanji that I could recognize just the meanings of. I don’t feel like I really “knew” them, though.
After that I remembered about my WaniKani account. I did the first three levels and I was initially annoyed at having to redo all the kanji I learned from Memrise, but doing the free levels helped me realize how beneficial it is to your kanji learning to learn the meaning, the reading, and associated vocab, the way WK teaches it. I wasn’t a fan of having to learn the radicals at first either, but it really does make it way easier. So do the mnemonics. (And the pace picks up very quickly.)
WaniKani just isn’t for some people, but I suggest you try doing the free levels. It’s been amazing for my reading comprehension and has really made me feel like I know the kanji.