Eighty-Six (86)

Unfortunately, this is tough stuff that touches everyone. Either directly or indirectly… But I refuse for this topic to always be a downer; doom and gloom. It can, and does become the opposite, sooner or later. Certainly, addiction and its myriad of reasons for being can be complex and controversial depending on individual circumstances. But, recovery in all its various forms, doesn’t have to be complicated, but some make it so. Some have a need for it to be more complex than it needs to be. This becomes more about justifying their status rather than about another’s state of mind.

Let’s be clear: it’s not easy, nor is it impossible to overcome and rise above the various addictions, vices, devices, distractions, or compulsions (the AV/DC’s) that can ail any of us. Everyone, and every situation is different. But for me… I simply no longer choose to engage in certain self-defeating behaviors that eventually made my world very small. It’s just not who I am anymore. It’s not what I choose to do, nor how I choose to live. The cons eventually outnumbered the pros for me. It’s that simple, though it wasn’t easy to face at first. Don’t confuse simplicity with degree of difficulty.

Once those numbers didn’t add up for me anymore, none of IT worked, and changes needed to be made. I still think about it sometimes. I fondly remember doing this or that once upon a time. Euphoric recall creeps in. Especially when I see others engaging and embracing elements of a lifestyle that’s past tense for me. For a fleeting moment, it can be tough. But when this happens, I choose to let it go and let it be. I remind myself of where I am versus where I was. The comparison is no contest.

So for me, for today… this different path has been producing different outcomes for a long time. Mostly better outcomes, but sometimes just different. It called life. Sometimes there’s celebration. Sometimes there’s consolation. It just is what it is. It’s been up, it’s been down, and then it just becomes the norm. A new normal. I suppose some may view that as both good and bad. Though sometimes it doesn’t always feel so good, it’s definitely all good. I’m fortunate, and I’m continually reminded of that. So I’m reminding me, and I’m reminding you: Whatever it is for you or someone you know, it’s temporary and can be overcome.

Stay tuned-in…

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Avoid-Dance

“I don’t want to go there; I don’t want to talk about that…”

I hear this quite a bit within the different aspects of my work. The frequency of this isn’t surprising, but the high price we pay for this choice often is. There’s a large, collective cost attached to avoidance and denial. It’s often not immediately apparent, but it’s definitely there. It’s called “avoid-dance” for a reason. Because that’s exactly what it is: a fucking dance… a death dance that slowly kills you from the inside out.

Anywhere you don’t want go (emotionally) is exactly where you need to be… (immediately). – @tomleu

It’s normal to want to avoid problems because problems = pain. Nobody wants more pain, we’ve got enough of that shit already right? Many psychologists suggest that the human drive to avoid pain is higher and tends to be more prevalent than our drive to seek pleasure. Read that again. It’s called “avoidance coping” or “escape coping” for a reason. But here’s the thing: side-stepping isn’t a solution; it’s a band-aid, and a weak one at that. The longer anyone avoids their own crap and refuses “to go there,” the bigger the problem becomes, and the less effective the band-aid becomes over time. Have the stones to rip that shit off.

We all have to “go there” sometimes because “there” is where the real solutions to the problems live. Believe it or not, the pain of dealing with the here and now is far less than enduring the pain accumulated by avoiding shit week-after-month-after-year-after-year. It’s called recovery (from whatever is ailing you). Going there is good. Go there so you don’t have to live there.

Face it, fix it, and move on. It’s a risk worth taking. Easier said than done, but no less possible…

Stay tuned-in…cPlease share and click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

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Tom Leu on the The Journey Podcast

Tom’s appearance on The Journey podcast with host, Kevin Polky from May 2020:

The Man Who Makes Sound Matter Pt. 1

“I have known Tom the majority of my life, close to 40 years. We played football together since middle school, lived together in college, were in each other’s wedding and now have had the opportunity to work together. He has an amazing story. This episode gives a glimpse into the earlier years of the good, bad and the ugly of the rocker lifestyle.” – Kevin Polky


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Tom Leu on the Recovery Rockstars Podcast

Check out my appearance on the killer Recovery Rockstars podcast with host, Kevin Zurek from January 2019:

Stay tuned-in…

Please share and click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

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Boozy Brunch

I love my curated, streaming playlists. Listen to them daily. We’ve all experienced how powerful music is to our lives. No matter your flavor, music’s power to influence how we feel, and transport us, even if only temporarily, can itself, be intoxicating.

Here’s a recent screenshot I came across of a recommended Spotify playlist. I used to get mad at stuff like this. Now I get sad. Sad because so many equate alcohol (and drugs) with carefree, good times. Glorifying “day drinking” and “happy hours” and such. I used to, too… It’s a dangerous message that I bought into as a teenager, and one that contributed to the next 20 years of my life as a hard-core boozer.

I was one who couldn’t always separate fact from fiction always. One who equated good times and bad times, with music and booze, often resulting in bad decisions. One who looked external, for internal remedies to cure what ailed me. One who blamed, ran, and rationalized to avoid “all the feels” associated with living with presence and clarity.

Today, the music I consume, and the music I make, continues to transport me. Just not into the boozy brunch club, or fantasy fucking I-land. And you know what? “They” told me [brunch] would be so much better without the booze… but I didn’t believe them back then. I thought they were full of shit.

But you know what else? It turns out that they were right…

Stay tuned-in…

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Sixty-Five

65

Judy C. 2014 >> “Humans Being” Project – produced using original images, interviews, and music production from 16Imaging Communications.

The goals of these moving pictures are to raise awareness, encourage critical thinking, promote contemplative reflection, and to inspire others to overcome and rise above their AV/DC’s. Reactions and comments encouraged…

For more >> www.RecoveryCollective.net

Stay tuned-in…


 

CWT-7: Rocking Recovery

Q&A on the Communichology™ of Pop Culture

What is CONVERSATIONS WITH TOM? Read THIS for an overview…

Ricky Midway: Despite all you’ve written and produced over the years, there was still something missing right?

Tom Leu: Yes there was.

It’s what this new endeavor of yours is about right?

Yes… though it’s not really new, it’s just something I had been avoiding for some time.

Why?

Lots of reasons: too personal, too taboo, too defining, too confining, too controversial… take your pick.

OK, so spill it, it must be time.

I finally decided to go public with my writings and story about recovery and recovery-related topics. I’m now sharing my experiences and insights about my own recovery journey within my writings, radio show, podcast, and webcasts, etc. My primary purpose is to inspire and help others where possible.

Why have you been reluctant to do this for so long?

Like I said above… it’s always just seemed too personal to broadcast. I was concerned about any professional implications, And plus, I really didn’t think people would care that much, so why go into it you know?

So why now?

I think it’s that little voice in my head that has never gone away. It’s just gotten louder and louder as the years have gone by. According to the cool book, The Flinch by Julien Smith, a person is supposed to listen to those things, and act on them when they don’t seem to disappear.

So what exactly is this new endeavor?

It’s called Recovery Collective, and this is where I bring together and connect a ‘collective’ of creatives, experts, advocates, movers and shiFters who DARE to get up, stand up, and get down to the business at hand… which is to lend a helping hand to those still struggling (with self-defeating behaviors of many varieties). It’s part investigative journalism, part motivational speaking, part inspirational writing, and part entertainment.

How can “recovery” be entertaining?

Ever been to an AA or 12 Step meeting of any kind?

Nope. Can’t say that I have.

It can be very entertaining at times, trust me.

Who is the target audience for this information?

Generally speaking… for anyone involved in, or interested in recovery-related topics. More specifically however, this site will be slanted and geared for people who are pretty skeptical about the whole recovery thing. This is for those who may not be completely convinced they need any help (yet). This is for the person who wants help, but may be afraid to reach out for it. This is an anonymous way to get some good information that may help someone begin the journey toward recovery, if in fact, they’re starting to think they need it. Basically, this is for someone like me, back when I first started thinking… I was in trouble… with the drinking, but didn’t know where to go or what to do.

Details?

A web presence, radio show and podcast to start that includes:

Interviews with people in recovery… some who are succeeding; some who may be struggling.

Articles and posts on recovery.

Inspirational photos/audios/videos.

Eventually… events and get togethers.

Is this an endorsement for Alcoholics Anonymous or 12 Step groups in general?

Not necessarily. This is not an endorsement of any one specific type of recovery movement or ideology, but rather a resource for anyone to potentially find what they’re looking for… whatever that is.

Are you from the “God as you understand Him” school as they they say in AA?

Sure. If “god” is something that is important to a person (with respect to recovery or just life in general), then I say, whatever works for you to improve your life.

So how do YOU interpret… “God as you understand him?”

For me, “god” = some kind of Higher Power.

THE higher power is the realizaition that there are many conceptions of a “higher power.”

THE higher power is one’s CHOICE to have a higher power… or not.

THE higher power is the REJECTION of a higher power all together… or not.

THE higher power is the release of guilt over which higher power, if any, is the right one, once-and-for-all.

THE higher power is being OK with any or all of the above.

So are you an AA alumni?

Yes and no. I attended AA for a solid decade. But haven’t now for many years. It worked for me then. Things are still working for me without it. But I know it’s not for everyone and that’s OK. But I am not an alumni. I don’t necessarily subscribe to the notion that you graduate or are “cured.”

But to be clear… you endorse AA, yes?

I do because as I’ve said, it’s worked for me. Again, I understand it’s not for everyone. But recovery can be, regardless of the path one takes to get there. A person has to first seek it for themselves in order to eventually find a way that works for them. The basic premise of AA… one alcoholic talking to another alcoholic is where the magic often happens, and is effective for many.

I have to ask… Who are you to be leading an effort like this? Why are YOU qualified to do this?

Why not me? Why not you, or anyone who desires to give something back? But, since you asked: Currently I have over 15 years of continuous sobriety, one day at a time. I have a Masters degree in Psychology. And I am an avid writer, professional speaker, and photographer. The combination of these areas, I believe, qualify me to undertake an endeavor such as this.

Well, I applaud the endeavor.

Thanks, but it’s those who willingly and diligently undertake active and ongoing recovery from that which ails them that deserve the applause. It’s the most courageous thing one can do IMO…

We’ll stay tuned-in…

**More Conversations with Tom archives.