Steps to Overcome Addiction with Conrad Tracey transcript

Greg Wilkes (00:01):



The construction industry can be a tough business to crack from cash flow problems. Struggling to find skilled labor and not making enough money for your efforts leaves many business owners feeling frustrated and burnt out. But when you get the business strategy right, it’s an industry that can be highly satisfying and financially rewarding. I’m here to give you the resources to be able to create a construction business that gives you more time, more freedom, and more money. This is the Develop Your Construction Business podcast, and I’m your host, Greg Wilkes.



Greg Wilkes (00:42):

So in today’s podcast, we’re talking about the subject of addiction. Now, addiction in the construction industry is problematic just like it is in any industry, but in construction, it’s something that’s probably not spoken about very often. And when people are in high pressure situations and facing difficulties in life, they can turn to substance abuse, alcohol abuse, sex, pornography, whatever the addiction is. They use this as a coping mechanism for some of the difficult, stressful situations they’re facing. So I’ve invited on the podcast today, Conrad Tracey, who is an addiction coaching specialist, and we’re going to look at some tricks and tips today of how to first identify if you have got a problem and if it’s affecting areas of your life, and then of course, some practical strategies on how you can deal with that and overcome your addiction, and then some accountability and support that you might need around you if you want to break free. So I hope you enjoy this episode. So Conrad, really pleased to have you on the show. So nice to see you, mate.



Conrad Tracey (01:44):

Yeah, awesome. I’ve been so excited to sit down and have this chat with you. I was really happy when you reached out and I get asked to do a lot of podcasts, and this one was definitely at the top of my list.



Greg Wilkes (01:55):

The reason I wanted to have you on, Conrad, is because as you know, I’m dealing with a lot of construction business owners that are growing great size companies, one to 5 million pound businesses, but there’s a lot of stress in doing that. As a business owner, it can be hugely stressful and a lot of pressure that’s on you from not only your workforce, but family pressures and whatever else. And sometimes people have different coping mechanisms of dealing with that stress. So I thought it’d be great to have you on for telling us how sometimes people do cope with this sort of stuff and how you can help them with it. So Conrad, first of all, maybe you could just introduce yourself as who you are, what you do, the type of people that you coach and help.



Conrad Tracey (02:36):

Yeah, absolutely. So I’m Conrad Tracey. I’m an addiction coach from Melbourne, Australia. I work with high-performing business owners, entrepreneurs and individuals who are trying to break the cycle of addiction without them having to go to rehab, without them having to spend time away from their families and also, (which is very important) without having to deal with the stigma of talking about the issue publicly until they’re ready to. Right. So we offer a very high and very bespoke private coaching program, and I have been working with people in the trade and construction industry for about three years now, and there is an absolute prevalence. I would say probably 45% of my current community are either directly involved in a trade in the construction industry in a high level. So I would say either a GM, COO or managing director role, and then people who are running companies at scale.



So I would say a workforce of anywhere between 10 to 50 people. So what we do is we take a very tailored approach to helping people to work through life every single day. So we act as a sounding board, we work as a coach, we work as a point of reference to help people to change the way they perceive, the way they act, the way they interact with the world and stress and all of the things that they have to deal with.


Greg Wilkes (04:20)
I know you’re quite open about your backgrounds. What’s got you into addiction coaching? How did this come about?


Conrad Tracey (04:26)
Yeah, I did it because I went through it. So I was high performance. I always have been, did well at school, did well at sports, did well at music, did well in friendship groups. But unfortunately when I was really, really young, I went through some very severe sexual trauma and also some intergenerational trauma, let’s call it that.


And I suppose a lot of your listeners would relate to that. Some of our fathers were probably not as equipped as they should have been and their fathers as well. So that trickled down. The trauma was hard, and when I went through my early life, it was okay, but when I hit teens and when I hit business, things started to get very sideways. So I partied a lot. I took a lot of ecstasy and a lot of party drugs in the early two thousands. And then with the introduction of I guess methamphetamine, speed and cocaine, I leaned into that to get through work. I was running two businesses, owner operator, different spaces. I had some kind of fingers in some entrepreneurial things, and it just helped me to get moving. It helped me to get through things. It helped me to be high performing or to grind, which is a really, I think is a pretty unhealthy mindset, and it took its toll.



So in 2017, I ended up in a residential rehab and I wasn’t well at all. I was in psychosis, very disconnected and very scared. And prior to that, I had tried everything myself. I took trips to Bali. I went and locked myself at my mom’s house for a year and on a year and one day when I left, I used again, I did that. I went into the traditional forms of rehabilitation. So I did NA, AA, 12 steps. And mate, I did that. It took me almost three and a half years to get to a point where I felt confident about interacting with life and being sociable and engaging. And I got to the end of it.


And I thought there has to be a better way than that. There has to be something that is more modern, more dynamic, more relatable. It’s like I wanted to work with someone that understood life and business and would guide me. I was prepared to do the work and you have to be because I was really at the point where I needed to change. But yeah, it was just hard. It was really tumultuous. It was super boring and it was really low energy, the whole thing. I don’t actually know how I got myself through it. I think it was just fear of death or fear of massive failure. So I went and I had done a psychology degree after school, so I went about designing something. I was working in actually in commercial property. I was building and developing co-working spaces, and I had a professional development budget, and I got some really good coaching off a guy called Steven Scott Johnson.



And he’s like, what do you want to do? And I’m like, well, I’m not happy here. And I’ve got this amazing lived experience. My favorite part of my job at that point was cultivating people. So meeting them, figuring out what they wanted to do, where they wanted to go. And we designed Addiction Coaching Australia in a meeting room. I’ve still got the whiteboarding sessions, and then I launched it a couple of years later, and it’s just been massive. So again, it’s just that thing of people who are high performing, they’re super smart, they don’t want to go into a room full of people that they don’t know and don’t relate to. They’ve got a problem, they want to fix it. They want to really fast track their health, their happiness and their recovery, and typically they need to work through building their relationships. So lived experience, bit of an active brain and bit of entrepreneurial drive, I guess.




Greg Wilkes (08:49):

That’s awesome. Yeah, what an incredible story there, Conrad. Amazing. It always fascinates me how people fall into different areas in life, and I think that’s incredible, and it’s great that you’re able to use your experiences to help others in that way. So maybe we could just have some insights around addiction. If people are listening to this and they’re thinking, am I addicted? Have I got a problem? Do I need some help? Can you give us some insights around that? What are the telltale signs to be looking out for?




Conrad Tracey (09:15):

Yeah, so what I think about is, I think about a quadrant. So if you can picture drawing a cross in your mind and it creates four boxes, and in those boxes you might put your relationship, you might put your health and your happiness, you might put your finances, and then you might put work in the fourth quadrant. And what I say to people is that if you are at the point where your behavior, your drinking, your drug use, a combination of those two, your addiction to pokies, gambling, sex, whatever it is, is affecting one or all of those things, then you need to look at the behavior and figure out what you’re going to do to improve it. I don’t take a disease approach to addiction. I don’t believe that it’s a disease. I think about it as a maladaptive behavior. I think about it as a phase and you can move through it.




You have to be able to identify it, and you have to figure out when it starts to tank, when you start to teeter, when you don’t go home, when you stay and have those extra pints, or when you get that extra bag, when you don’t show up for your kids’ sports, when you don’t do your quotes, you’re not chasing your invoices, your cashflows getting weird. You’re letting people slide on site, not having hard conversations with people that aren’t showing up for work. You feel disconnected in your relationship, you’re spending a lot of time alone and you’re not enjoying the life that you designed. Anyone that is listening to this didn’t decide to build a business for fun. They decided they might have, but they designed it so they could have a certain lifestyle. So if you are spending 2000 bucks a week on drugs and that’s not going into your hobbies and your holidays and your investments and your life, then that’s a real issue. Does that make sense?




Greg Wilkes (11:30):

It really does. Yeah. So do you think people recognize the addiction themselves or because obviously something slide in life anyway, don’t they? For example, let’s imagine you went out with your mates, had too much to drink, you can’t get out the next morning for work. So yeah, okay, you’ve messed up with work, but that might be a one-off. When do people then start to realize actually there is an addiction here? Is there ways of working out? Actually there is a little bit more of a problem than just a one-off.




Conrad Tracey (11:59):

Yeah. So look, I’ve done a lot of thinking about this and we talked about those quadrants, and I see a lot of people let one slide, they’ll let two slide, they’ll let three slide, but when it’s four, it’s an issue. And mate, it’s actually really funny to think about this, but status. So how we are perceived outwardly, so how we are perceived by an employer, an investor, a mate. As soon as that facade starts to crack and break, people start to get very, very scared. And the thing that’s horrible about that is that anybody that’s on the inside of the facade will suffer first. So they’ll put their wife through a whole bunch of pain, neglect their kids, they’ll neglect themselves, and that will be okay because they can kind of get away with that. They can manipulate it, they can create justifications. But as soon as somebody on the outside goes, Hey, you don’t look like the perfect father, or you don’t look like the CEO or you don’t.




When the cracks start to show, that’s when people come to me and they’re like, mate, I actually really need to do something about this. And being high performing, again, I’ve worked with so many CEOs, so many high level people. Success is lonely. You go from someone in society to somebody in society. I’m not saying you are better, but you’ve moved into a different genre, a different group of people, and that is isolating. And then to deal with the stress, to deal with all of the things that are lumped on you, you do something that’s even more isolating. It’s hard and it’s hard on your ego because we have very high expectations of ourselves. So again, if you’re a high performing guy or girl or person and you’re not raising the bar or meeting the bar or not even close to the bar, that’s very hard on your confidence in your self-efficacy.




Greg Wilkes (14:07):

So let’s imagine we’re listening to this. We think actually there’s a potential issue here. Things are starting to slip, the facades starting to crack. What are next steps? If you are advising someone to deal with this on their own, what are the sort of things they should be doing to cope with this and start resolving it?




Conrad Tracey (14:25):

So really good question, and I want to make this point super clear. Again, smart, researched, educated. I see a lot of people go to, it’s called Quit Lit, is I guess the terminology, books about addiction, podcasts. They might listen to this and they educate themselves. Now, education is not going to solve the problem. Okay, I’m an addiction coach. If I read a book on fitting and joining, I probably couldn’t fit and join. I just couldn’t do it without the practical experience, or I might do a really poor job at it. So knowledge is good. The thing that you have to be able to do is you have to integrate that knowledge for yourself because you are not like anybody else. So there’s no cookie cutter approach to this, okay? You’ve got to be able to integrate it, and then you’ve actually got to be able to implement.




You’ve got to put one day and then another day and then another day, and have a plan, have a strategy, have somebody to check in to actually guide you through a period where you can get to the point where you start to believe that you have control of your choice. And that’s really, really key. So I would say do your research and then find somebody that resonates with you. Because in the pits of addiction, you will find every excuse, you’ll find every justification, you go, Conrad, that guy F him, and it will have nothing to do with me. It’s just got everything to do with that little person on your shoulder. So finding someone that you resonate with, finding some system or modality that you feel comfortable with and exploring that. But the very simple answer to your question, and I love that, it’s so simple.




This is a very binary thing, okay, it is a zero or it is a one. You are drinking or you are not drinking, you’re buying bags or you’re not. You’re cheating on your wife or you’re not. And if you’re doing all of those three things in combination, then you really need to get started very, very quickly. And we all know that bad behavior leads to bad behavior, which leads to terrible feelings of shame and guilt, which leads to more bad behavior. It’s a real roller coaster. Now, I think you can make a start if you believe in yourself. If you’ve got confidence, you might go, okay, I’m going to try and do a week or two or get a couple of days in a row. But what I know unequivocally is that there’s always something underlying. There’s always something with the way that you were raised. There’s always something with parenting or relationships or work or internal beliefs, confidence, lack of confidence, anxiety, fear of failure, fear of rejection, sensitivity in high performing people is massive. So you’ve got to identify the problem. You’ve got to be prepared to open up and look at it, and then you’ve got to be prepared to do the work. So the way we talk about that is that we help people to open up, we help them to show up, and then we help them to level up.




Greg Wilkes (18:15):

Just coming onto your point there about identifying potentially a root cause of this, what’s triggering it? Where is this stemming from? We spoke about family background and upbringing, different things. How important is it that people get to the crux of the matter on that and do that deep work to find out what that is? Because you get different schools of thought on this, don’t you? Some, you don’t need to deal with it in the moment and get over it. Others say, no, that’s got to be resolved. What’s your take on that? Do you need to explore past traumas and upbringing before you can move on?




Conrad Tracey (18:45):

Yeah. My take is this, is that if it’s crippling you and it’s holding you back and it feels like a massive anchor on your life and your happiness and your success, then you’ve got to deal with it. You’ve got to look at it. You’ve got to figure out how big the anchor is, where it sits, and you’ve got to figure out how to either reel it back in or break it off. The thing that you have to understand is that dealing with trauma and dealing with addiction concurrently or at the same time is a lot for me. I decided I was going to deal with my addiction first, and I went right at it. I did everything that I had to do. And then when I got to about two and a half, three years of like, okay, I’ve actually got this. I know that I’m confident in this. Then I started to open up the treasure chest on what happened to me when I was younger, but I only opened it to a point.




I opened it up to a point of integration, a point of forgiveness and a point of resolution that was good for me because I don’t believe in living in the past. I don’t believe in sub-stories, I don’t believe in, I like to help people go from here to here, not from here, back there. So you have to find that sweet spot. And that’s, again, it’s the integration and it’s not going to be the same for you. It’s not going to be the same for me. It’s different for everybody. And the way that I figured that out is that I tested a lot of things. I did holistic therapies, I tried psychology, psychiatrists, hypnotherapist, traditional Chinese medicine. I went into it and I had a lot of fun with it. I took an exploration approach to my health and my wellbeing. And yeah, I mean, coming back to your question, it’s different for everybody.




And what I say to people is that I will help you get from where you are today to where you want to go. And if you want to go backwards and have a look in the chest, then work with a psychotherapist, work with a psychologist, and find one. And I have some very, very good ones in my network that you are comfortable with and that you’re happy to engage in. So I mean, two people in my program at the moment come to mind. One is extremely high performing. He’s actually in London. I won’t say any more than that, because he is pretty well known. And another guy in Queensland, in Australia, and one’s in separate industries, but both have pretty epic issues with their fathers.




And in the six to 12 months that I’ve been working on them, we’ve managed to increase that communication, build resolution, and have very strong boundaries. So here’s never going to change. You are, you’ve got to figure out where you sit with everything, and then you’ve got to be able to hold a boundary and communicate it so it doesn’t interject or affect your life and happiness anymore. That’s an example in real life of what we might do. We are not going to sit there and cry about dad for the next five years. It doesn’t get you anywhere.




Greg Wilkes (22:22):

Yeah, It makes sense. You can see why someone would need help to deal with this, because sometimes you don’t know what you need to do and how far back you need to go, and whether you need to deal with that now or actually what you just said, no, let’s just deal with the addiction first and then if you need to go and dive into that, you can do so. Very difficult for someone to do that on their own and educate themselves and get over the addiction and deal with the past traumas. There’s a lot going on there. And to try and cope with that on your own must be extremely difficult for people.


Conrad Tracey (22:53):

It is. And more than the work. And this is the thing, right? It’s like if you are capable, you’re smart and you are open-minded, that is the number one thing that I look for in people. If you have those three traits and a little bit of drive, those things in combination will get you where you need to go. But what sometimes people need more than anything is permission, and they need a safe environment to actually sit and open up here and open up here, and then let these two start communicating, particularly in men, particularly in the trades and in construction, okay, those industries, they’re changing, but we are not really raised to be thinking about our feelings, to be communicating, to be talking about them. And for anyone that’s listening, we’re not talking about taking a six month retreat to the Himalayas and doing all of this stuff.




I’ve seen people go from brick wall, tough to on the ground in the fetal position from one breathwork session or from one thing. And imagine not doing that thing. Imagine not taking that chance to actually have a look and figure out what’s going on for you. It’s not that far away. It’s not that hard to access, and you have to be able to do it somewhere where you don’t feel judged and you don’t feel like it’s challenging any of the social confines or constructs that we’ve been dialed into, like masculinity and all of those things. Does that make sense?




Greg Wilkes (24:52):

It really does. Yeah. You can see the problem, especially in construction. We’ve had guests before where we’ve been talking about mental health and what an issue it is not just in Australia, we see exactly the same issues in the UK because it’s such a predominantly male industry, and that’s how men oftentimes are brought up to deal with things. And you think you can’t share and you can’t talk to people about it, you can’t be vulnerable. So tell me, Conrad, a little bit about how you help people then. Let’s imagine someone comes to you and says, look, I need some help. What are some of the steps that you would set them up for success? How do you sort of jump into it and deal with it?




Conrad Tracey (25:26):

Totally. So if we think about three stages, again, that kind of open up, show up, level up, or you can think about it as exploration information and implementation. If you thought about three things, we want to figure out what’s happened. We want to figure out what your behavioral patterns are, and this is the most important thing, and this is why we work with people every single day. We do phone check-ins, we do accountabilities, we do crisis calls, we get into people’s worlds. I know what your wife’s name is, where you work, what your apprentices are, what projects you’re working on, what your cashflow is like. I understand all of these things innately about my participants and I go on that journey with them. And the thing that works really well is that I’ve driven the road and I fell in all the potholes. I know where they’re, and I know what caused them, and I also know how to get out of them. So what I try to do with my very best intention is to help people to avoid them. And if they land in one, to pull them straight out and get them moving,




Greg Wilkes (26:46):

What would you say some of those potholes are that people should be looking out for to try and navigate? What particular things do you see coming up that are going to trip people up that they might not be expecting?




Conrad Tracey (26:56):

So I’ll give you a really quick one, and we call it a relapse soup. Okay? So I imagine you are cooking up a relapse. Let’s say you’ve had a week off, and then your brain starts to run. And the things that it’s looking for are boredom, high stress, low accountability, and time. So if you start creating windows where you don’t have to be somewhere or you’re jumping off site early, or you’re telling your wife it’s three o’clock, when it’s one o’clock, and creating that kind of gap for yourself, you’re not accountable to anyone. So when you are the boss, sometimes that’s the case, guys, we’re all set up. I’ve got a meeting, I’m just going to shoot off. You are stressed because of everything that’s going on around you and you’re bored. Okay? So you might not have had a win. You might just be stuck.




Things might not be going your way. Those four things in combination are very dangerous. And I would encourage everybody to be very conscientious about identifying them. So that piece is very important. Then the information piece is probably secondary or runs at the same time as that I have, I’m obsessed with teaching. I love it, and I like to do it in a way that is practical. I hated university. I hated textbooks. I hated reading things that were this thick. Everything that we teach is short, sharp, punchy, 15 to 20 minutes YouTube style videos. And you can listen to it. You can sit on the, I’ve got a guy who’s a drainage company and he sits on his forklift and he just listens to his curriculum through his podcast. And then he talks to me about it and he goes, oh, that thing that you said is kind of like the thing that I’m going through.




So we teach people everything we know about identifying your triggers, winning the war in your head, beating cravings and urges, how to communicate, how to set boundaries, how to fuel your brain and body, and also really importantly, how to stop lying, start showing up, start reconnecting to your ethics and your values and that person that you set out to be when you were young and optimistic. So they learn a lot. And then the third stage, which I think is the most crucial, is the implementation. Every single day. I won’t show you because of privacy. We’ve got about 25 people in our community at the moment. Every day before 9:30, they send us a plan, their accountability, something they learn and how they’re scoring in terms of a self-reporting metric. We have phone check-ins with people every single day, and people have the capacity to crisis call us at the higher tiers of our program. We have a Wednesday night meeting, we’ve got a Sunday night meeting. So halfway through to make sure that you’re tracking well the week and a Sunday night to celebrate the week, do some reflection and then plan for the week ahead. Okay, so we’re giving you structure, we are giving you routine, we’re giving you accountability. We’re creating a safe space for you to communicate and practice being open, honest, and vulnerable.




And then we’re bringing you into a really beautiful, high performing community with people that just look and feel and sound like you. Okay? It’s not like you have to go into this room and sit there with 15 people that look like they’ve just come in off the street. And no offense to, I’ve got complete empathy and compassion for that, but we have to feel safe. We have to feel like it’s okay for us to be where we are. So exploration, lots of the most potent and modern information about neuroscience, psychology, addiction, and high performance, and then implementation. And my favorite part is that once we do this, we work with people on high performance coaching afterwards. So I’ve taken, I’ll give you one example. So property industry in Australia, I’ll be mindful of what I say. Great startup idea. I met him in 2019 and a very bad methamphetamine addiction.




His wife was losing her mind. We’ve got this incredible idea. It’s going to be, we’re actually going to get it funded. It’s going to take off and it’s going to help hundreds of thousands of people in Australia to do this thing. And he was in a bad way. I worked with him for 12 months and then we spent, so we got him clean, we got him, well, we got him reconnected to health, family relationships, got him back in the driver’s seat of this company. And then we spent another 12 months together and they’ve gone to Series A, they’ve launched, they’ve got people coming in to invest in their company. So that journey from complete liability to leadership is one that I’m very excited about because I don’t believe that you go from here just to come up into parody with society. If you can pull yourself from these depths, I want you up here. And that’s really powerful. And it’s possible because of the grit and the resilience and the determination that you build on the way up.




Greg Wilkes (32:53):

It must be fantastic to see the changes people make in their lives and what impact that’s having and how getting over this unleashes your true potential, doesn’t it? So that must be really, really satisfying as a job role. So Conrad, if anyone’s listening to this, they think, look, I think I’ve got an issue here. I’d like to seek some help. How would people get hold of you and how can you help?




Conrad Tracey (33:15):

Yeah, I’m really accessible. Okay. So I think the best way to contact with me is through Instagram. I think it’s @conradmtracey_addictioncoach. She’ll be able to find it and just sending me a direct message, send me a voice message, send me a little thing that just introduces yourself. And I’m really happy to connect with people. And I know that my solution is not always the right solution for people. So what I like to do is I like to help. I like to give people guidance, and I like to give people as many tools as I can to help them to figure out what works for them. So if you come and chat with me, I’ll probably just throw a whole bunch of stuff at you. You can watch it. If it resonates with you and you feel like you get me and you see the journey and you can feel a bit of a connection, then we can talk about what it looks like to work together. But I’m really big on fit. So I love to have a close personal relationship. I’ve also got an incredible number of coaches that work with me and beside me. So if it’s not me, it could be someone else. And if just come and say hello and tell me what’s going on for you, and I’ll do my very best to help.




Greg Wilkes (34:36):

That sounds fantastic. Conrad. And you mentioned before we jumped on that you’ve got a special offer that you can give to people if they’re looking for some extra help. Do you want to just tell us about that?




Conrad Tracey (34:46):

Yeah, totally. And I was having a think about it this morning, and I’ve had a beautiful couple of days. I’m in Canggu in Bali at the moment, and I have just spent some amazing time with people who are incredibly smart, incredibly generous, and the amount of knowledge that I’ve picked up just from being here has helped me so much. So what I think is important at first stages is to be able to do these three things, you have to be able to identify your triggers. So what stresses me off stresses me off. What stresses me out and what kind of pushes me towards maladaptive behavior. You have to be able to beat cravings and urges. So you have to be able to sit there and go, I really want to pick up a bag, or I really want to have that beer and actually make a choice to not do that. And then you have to start winning the war in your head, which is having that conversation with your addiction. Who’s going, you deserve it. Just have one. It’ll be different this time. Nobody will find out. You’ve got to get into a dialogue with that person and you’ve got to war with them.




Those three things. I’ve got trainings on all three of them, and what I’ll do for anybody that’s listening, I’ll bundle those up. I’ll send you all of the videos and I’ll do it for a buck, right? An Australian dollar, I don’t know what that is in pounds.




Greg Wilkes (36:16):

The pound strong, so that’s like 50 pence.




Conrad Tracey (36:19):

Yeah, so it’s a good one. So I think the best way to do that is if you come into Instagram and you’ve perhaps send me a direct message with the name of this podcast, so I know that you’ve heard it and you’ve listened to it, and then I’ll send you a little link. You can pay me 50 cents and I’ll send you all of the trainings. And the only thing that I’d ask, okay, is that you’ve watched them and maybe send me a little video or a little message that says, Hey, I watched it and I found this part valuable. That would mean heaps to me. So yeah, that’s what we can do.




Greg Wilkes (36:57):

That’s awesome. Conrad really generous and that’s going to be helpful for a lot of people that listen back to this. So really appreciate it. Conrad can I’ll just say, thanks so much for taking the time to be on the show with us today. I know that’s going to help a lot of people, so really appreciate you



Conrad Tracey (

Mate. It’s an absolute pleasure.




Greg Wilkes (37:23):

If you’d like to work with me to fast track your construction business growth, then reach out on www.developcoaching.co.uk.