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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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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CWT-7: Rocking Recovery

Q&A on the Communichology™ of Pop Culture

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

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.


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.


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.

Stay tuned-in…

Click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

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15 years and one day ago today, I was out of control, and at an all time low. I’d been drinking regularly and heavily with increasing frequency and quantity for nearly twenty years since I was a teenager. And like a lot of people, it was all fun at first. But eventually, my excessive drinking and partying (which I later learned, helped me to be comfortable in my own skin by avoiding the very reasons for my discomfort in the first place), had turned into fun but with consequences, and eventually into pretty much all consequences at the end. It was a very dark time. Something had to change…

Initially, I thought those “things” that needed to change were everyone and everything outside of me. Those people, places, and things that caused me pain, pissed me off, and wrote me off … everyone and everything except me… but as I learned from others who felt what I felt, understood what it was like, and most importantly, were there to help, it was actually me that needed to change all along. No other person, place, or thing was ultimately responsible for my feelings, choices, circumstances, and behavior. It was me and only me… that was the first great revelation that recovery provided. It was then I was finally able to humbly rebuild my life from the perspective of a victor, not a victim. For me, I learned that I no longer needed to choose alcohol and drugs to escape… to numb the pain, to mask feelings, to run from fear, and to basically hide in plain sight…

Today, I get to enjoy a more fulfilling, but still challenging life working at all the various endeavors that I love. Whether it’s photography, music, radio, or writing and speaking about communications and recovery subject-matter that I’m so passionate about… none of it would be possible without my sobriety. Yeah, life’s still hard, real hard sometimes. I still make mistakes. Many. I still get down, but I’m never out. And honestly, at times I reminisce about how the booze used to work and temporarily transport me out of reality and into fantasy land. You know, to “take the edge off” a little. But that’s just it… that edge that I used to choose to avoid back then, is the very thing that helps me grow, helps me get better, helps me learn how to handle what life throws at me today. Embracing the edge is what gives me the edge so-to-speak. This is the second great revelation that recovery provided.

Today, I’m grateful. I’m grateful for the recovery community that has helped me past and present. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my message, not to be self-serving, but to hopefully be an encouragement and inspiration to someone else, even if just one, who may need to hear that it is possible to overcome and rise above any vice, device, addiction, or distraction that ails you. There is another way, a better way, and that new way can begin today…

So today, I’m 15 (years sober) at 50 (years old in January). Hard to believe. 2018 will see the intentional launching of my recovery-focused writings and work in earnest on this site at www.RecoveryCollective.net, as well as on Instagram.

I’m excited, but I’m also scared because I’ve been procrastinating this for years. Why? Fear, plain and simple. Fear of being rejected. Fear of ridicule. Fear of being misunderstood. Fear of failure. But as I’ve also learned in recovery, facing fear is a necessary and positive thing. Doing it scared is a good thing. That which we avoid is oftentimes the very thing we must face and embrace. And so be it… today is a good day.

Thank you,


Stay tuned-in…




**Note: this was originally written in 2012. All still true, just with many more days added of continuous sobriety. If I can, you can too…



The number of days of continuous sobriety today, 12/17/12.

The number of times I questioned my ability to really do this.

The number of times addiction encumbered me.

The number of times recovery from addiction empowered me.

The number of days I’m focusing on in sobriety right now…


minus 3649 =


3650 days of one (1) day at a time.

The number of times I should be thankful for the gift of life… times ten… times one hundred.

For more >> www.RecoveryCollective.net

Stay tuned-in…



You know who they are…

Those who make an exception not to be an asshole.

Those who derive pleasure by causing other people pain.

Those who stir shit up just for kicks.

Those who COMPLAIN about everyone and everything, but do nothing to CHANGE anything.

Those who arrogantly believe that they’re always right, and the rest of us dumbasses are fucking clueless.

Those whose interpersonal communication skills are so shitty and short-sighted, it’s literally stunning to everyone who witnesses it.

Those whose intrapersonal communication skills are A) non-existent, or B) exist within a permanent state of denial and toxic self-delusion producing a fantasy land that even they’ve come to misinterpret as “reality.”

Yes, you know the type, and their destructive ways, right? You can see them in your mind’s eye right now…

This is ad-DICK-tion at the core. It’s pervasive, but can be treated.

You see…

  • Like any other addiction, many will deny they have a problem.
  • Like any other addiciton, many will justify and rationalize why it’s necessary to engage in this type of problem-behavior, and will argue in defense of the defenseless.
  • Like any other addiction, being a dick is a progressive illness. It gets worse over time as it becomes the person’s attention-getting tactic and ultimately their adopted identity. The behavior then repeats and builds momentum.
  • Like any other addiction, the outward symptom (the “dickness”), is usually very overt and very hard to handle.
  • Like any other addiction, the inward root cause of the behavior, not necessarily the behavior itself, is the real problem and what ultimately needs attention and treatment.
  • Like any other addiction, the solution starts with honest awareness and identification of the core problem(s) underneath.
  • Like any other addiction, the solution continues only with a willingness to do the work to change the thinking. This is then is what ultimately leads to behavior change.

Just like any other addiction, being a dick is a choice. And, like any other addiction, a person can choose to change themselves, change their way of living, and change their outcomes.

The concept is simple, but it’s not easy.

Change is only possible provided you’re willing to put in the effort and endure the uncertainty and discomfort along the way toward an improved end-result.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering…

Yes, I can be a dick at times. Sometimes I feel like being a dick. But most of the time I choose not to be a dick. Life is too short for that crap. There’s too much good to see, and too much good to do, to waste time being a dick.

So, don’t be a dick. Choose otherwise.

At the end of day, nice wins.

Stay tuned-in…

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