For those of us who have not only been able to make it through a traumatic life event, but have actually been able to grow from the experience, we often think...What Now?

As I think back to several of those experiences, I realize that family and friends were an important part of my recovery. But the issue that had the most dramatic effect on me was the change in relationship with the God of my understanding. When it came to getting me through some of those days where I didn't want to show up and participate, I asked for the help I needed to just to get through the day. I felt that tomorrow would be another day and I'd deal with it then.

Once I was able to get past the "poor, poor me" stage (which was a very important stage to go through), I was able to begin cultivating a different relationship with God. I didn't know it at the time, but I had passed through the emotional healing piece and was entering the spiritual healing phase.

I liked this part...the spiritual healing piece. I could feel a huge difference in my attitude and how I carried myself though the day if I prayed in the morning (which was basically talking to God). I would acknowledge my love for Him, ask Him to help me with my thoughts and actions and to help me be of assistance to others. In the evening, I would get on my knees (something I began while in rehab) and thank Him for helping me get through another day and I would acknowledge those who were less fortunate than me and ask God to help them, too.

That's all I did for a while and I really felt a difference. As I've heard it said, those things helped put more "gratitude in my attitude" as I went about my day.

As time went on, I felt the need to commit more to my "practices," i.e., those things I was doing that helped me to stay balanced as I went through my day. However, commitment didn't necessarily mean more.

For example, I was reminded of a period during my early sobriety when I was only able to see my children on Sundays between 10am and 8pm. I felt cheated and angry that my time with them was so limited. But my sponsor reminded me that the amount of time I had with them wasn't as important as the quality of the time we spent together.

As with many things in life, if you do them every day they sometimes take on less meaning in our life. We are on autopilot; doing them out of habit, without the same feelings and intensity we felt when we started.

Yes, even prayer can become automatic if I allow myself to become unfocused while doing it. So, at first, commitment meant not rushing through my prayers so that I could move on to do the next thing. Prayer...talking to God...was not an item on my "to do" list. It became a significant piece of my life, and I needed to recommit and be present while being in the presence of God.

As with any relationship you have in life, once you decide you want to deepen it, you need to invest time and energy on the connection.

It occurs to me that prayer may have a negative connotation for those of us who have recovered from trauma or addiction, and even for those of us who didn’t experience those things, but who still would like to improve their relationship with God.

During our life’s journey, we may have been told that praying is something done by those who are weak, or that there is no God or, worse yet, for some of us, prayer is the very thing that the very person who had hurt us did all the time.

Each relationship with God is unique. It is ours; no one can improve it but us. Which means no one can tell us it doesn’t exist. Religions can tell us how to pray, when to pray, etc., but I am talking about spirituality here, not religion. Religion works. There are thousands and thousands of saints and sages who have become God Realized by following the path of their religion. I have met and witnessed some of them.

Keeping prayer simple is just a matter of you talking/communicating with God. That’s it. Yes, traditional prayer works, but so do our own private prayers.

Remember, we are talking about improving our conscious contact with God. Try to recall what you would do to thank someone for helping you, or what you do to express your love for someone. But what if that person isn’t nearby or you can’t communicate by phone? How else would you express your love or gratitude; maybe by writing a note or a letter?

Imagine writing a love letter to God thanking your beloved Mother and Father for all you have. This, too, is prayer. Imagine writing a love poem to God…a song, creating a dance, etc. I am sure there are other ways that you can communicate with God and I’d love to hear about them from you. In fact, with everything you do in life, you can simply think of God first and say “I do this for the highest good of all involved.”

Prayer works. It fills the hole that we may sometime feel in our lives. And who is it that we are acknowledging? We are acknowledging and allowing the Light to fill us from within and shine outward…a Light that has always been there, just waiting for us to turn it on. Prayer is one of the switches.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Hoare, D.D., is an author, minister and certified Angel Therapy Practitioner. Michael’s past life has been filled with challenges. He was born with a hole in his heart, was sexually abused during his early childhood, turned to alcohol and drugs for comfort, and ended up homeless in the New York City subway. In addition, Hoare has lost an unusually large number of loved ones to death: both parents by the time he was 16; his best friend 2 years later; and his fiancée died two weeks before their wedding date. Eleven months after his fiancée died, he learned that his daughter was battling cancer. Despite it all, and maybe because of it, Hoare can talk about his troubled past and how he came through it, thanks to a spiritual program called Ah-Man.

Central to the Ah-Man experience is being able to forgive oneself and to forgive others for past misgivings. The experiences that Hoare, a recovering alcoholic, describes in his recently published book, “I Am Ah-Man,” are due in large part to the impulses of what Hoare terms “primordial man.” While Hoare admits that primordial man is not a bad guy, his actions are the result of instinct rather than the heart. Primordial feelings, he explains, include anger, fear, resentment, control, lust, jealousy, and suspicion.

To connect to Ah-Man, Hoare, a New York City native, had to change his habits and beliefs and ultimately surrender to them. That, he explains, is not an easy task. Why? Because both men and women, he says, are conditioned to conform to society’s expectations. For men, that may mean feeling the need to have the highest-paying jobs, purchase the largest homes, and maintain the lifestyles to match. For women, it could mean being just like men, and looking and acting a certain way, e.g., thin or sexy. But with trust, forgiveness and acceptance of ourselves, God and others, Hoare believes men and women can find a spiritual way of handling everyday life situations without getting sucked into them.

Through a series of seminars and one-to-one counseling sessions, Hoare teaches men and women to embrace the Ah-Man within them by creating a loving relationship with oneself, God and others; openness with other people; a sense of integrity; and the ability to communicate; all by incorporating trust, forgiveness and acceptance, thus allowing them to be whole.

Additional information on Ah-Man, as well information on upcoming retreats, can be found at www.ah-man.com.