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.


 

15at50

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,

Tom

Stay tuned-in…


 

Mirror

mirror2

Sure you look into it, but are you truly “seeing” what’s there? Some are subconsciously afraid of the mirror. Not for what they see, but for what they don’t want to see. It’s precisely this kind of pride-leveling that’s necessary for growth.

Sometimes it’s necessary to make changes to things that may have long been apart of who you’ve been and who you are, but are now holding you back.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy

Most skip right over this truth. No one wants to change themselves; but most of us need to. Big difference. Truly look at yourself inside out. Pay attention to what hasn’t been working in life up to this point. Then decide if you really want to make some changes. If your motivation for change is more about wanting to rather than needing to, your results will be greater.

If you’re honestly in the right place, doing the right things, with and for the right people, then commit to doing everything you can not to screw it up. Look in the mirror, make the tough decisions, and continue making the necessary changes as needed.

Your perceived reality depends on it.

For more >> www.RecoveryCollective.net

Stay tuned-in…


 

Reality is Perception

Many years ago, one of my mentors used to tell me that “the world is as you are, not as it is…” It’s an interesting observation that has stuck with me ever since.

Things aren’t always what they seem to be; but they are what they seem to be to me, and to you. We make our world so small sometimes. Limited by the confines of our immediate surroundings, we mistakenly believe that what we see is all there is.

It isn’t.

How we “see things” influences how we “feel” about those things, which influences how we “act” upon those feelings.

How you think = How you are.

So… since our perception is our reality, doesn’t it make sense to change our perception when our reality is in need of change?

the shiFt:

Easier said than done, but no less possible. But how? How do we go about changing our perceptions?

Two ways:

1) Get honest about any long-held perceptions that may not serve you anymore. Fall out of love with the notion that your way of seeing things is the only “right” way. It rarely is. If you don’t have the objectivity to do this yourself, ask someone else who really knows you to help. >> Yes, it’s OK to ask for help. Asking for help = Strength)<<

2) Become willing to consider another perspective. Being willing doesn’t mean blindly agreeing. Do some homework and investigate other viewpoints for yourself. Sometimes the very act of trying to objectively challenge or support another perspective exposes new information that was unseen and/or unknown before.

Few like to change. Change is often scary and makes people defensive and resistant. Change is hard. But change is also necessary for progress and growth.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

Think back one, five, even ten or more years ago… how much have you changed? Is “as you are” today driving you in the direction you want to be tomorrow? If not, then keep what’s working, and get rid of the rest. Your “world” depends on it. Pay attention to your perception.

For more >> www.RecoveryCollective.net

Stay tuned-in…


 

3650

3650

**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…

**********

3650

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…

3650

minus 3649 =

1

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…