December 08, 2021
In this episode, Tim and Brock talk with Conrad Jeffries.
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Conrad spent 13 years in the military between the Coast Guard and National Guard. Throughout his time in service, he struggled with alcohol and talks openly about his personal struggle against suicide. His understanding of that fight led him to found the Shot At Dawn Project, a veteran suicide solution that uses 'flags' or incidents as triggers to counsel and coach active duty members at the unit level to prevent a future casualty rather than respond to it. Conrad is now a realtor and ultra marathoner, using runs such as the David Goggins Challenge and Moab 240 to raise awareness for veteran suicide and his cause.
You can follow Conrad on Instagram @ConradJeffries and check out his initiative at https://www.shotatdawnproject.org/.
The Scuttlebutt Podcast - The podcast for service members and veterans building a life outside the military.
The Scuttlebutt Podcast features discussions on lifestyle, careers, business, and resources for service members. Show host, Brock Briggs, talks with a special guest from the community committed to helping military members build a successful life, inside and outside the service.
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Brock Briggs 0:18
Hello, and welcome to the Scuttlebutt with Tim and Brock. Our guest today is Conrad Jefferies, Conrad spent 13 years across the National Guard and the Coast Guard from 2001 and two to 2016. Since that point, he's come to lead the shot at dawn project, which is a suicide solution targeted at Veterans but using skills and information derived from active duty military. And now Conrad is an ultra marathoner. Conrad, welcome to the show.
Conrad Jeffries 0:47
Hey, thanks for having me, guys. I appreciate it. So, should be fun.
Brock Briggs 0:51
Yeah, it's gonna be fun. We want to start out and talk about a little bit what led you to the military, you've got this enormous track record, what is it that brought you to joining the military, that's we all have a lot of stories that we can share about our time in. But one thing that sets us apart is what what brings us to join and and what brought us here today. So once you talk a little bit about your story, starting off,
Conrad Jeffries 1:17
You know, I just, I love where I'm from, but I just wanted out of there. I'm from a, you know, small farm town in Idaho, American Falls, and which I love, it was a great place growing up as a kid, you know, we had everything there. You could want as far as hunting and sports and just a real small town. But, you know, small towns, you have small dreams. And, you know, I just felt trapped in a sense and was kind of going nowhere. So I decided to do something and I wanted to do something no one else has really done. And that's why I was looking at the United States Coast Guard. Because not many people from where I'm from even kind of really are aware of what the Coast Guard does. So, you know, I started looking into it. And lo and behold, by just after 911, I was on my way to boot camp. I'd gone through maps just prior to 911. And reported to basic, I think the end of September 2001.
Brock Briggs 2:15
So you were you were planning on joining prior to 911 actually happening that wasn't a catalyst or anything for you.
Conrad Jeffries 2:22
Correct? Yeah. Yeah, it was, I was just waiting to go to boot camp and a half. And I think I even got delayed a week or two for boot camp because of it. In fact, yeah, because boot camps in Cape May, New Jersey, for the Coast Guard.
Tim McCarthy 2:35
Was that was man, that must have been crazy. Was that scary for you? I mean, you're you're in maps, you're already planning on going into the military, which is at that point, super unknown to you. So I'm assuming that you, you get the butterflies, the nervousness, the anxiety, just like everybody else does. And then 911 happens. And a couple of weeks later, you're shipping out to bootcamp. I mean, it was that was pretty, pretty weird.
Conrad Jeffries 2:59
I think the consensus of most of us when I got to boot camp was like, you know, we're in the Coast Guard. Right? Like, we'll be out, we'll be out on the beaches, helping chicks and whatever will be cruiser, who's gonna serve, but you know, a little ways to boot camp, there was you could tell there was going to be a shift, and what the role of the Coast Guard's mission was in the country. And we could we could feel it from our cadre commanders. And, you know, there was a lot of changes coming. But you know, Coast Guard does have a history of like, we have a Medal of Honor winner Douglas Monroe, you know, taking Marines in. And I actually went to school, a federal law enforcement School for the Coast Guard, with the first guy killed in action since Vietnam, Nathan broken ball. They were over there on tackling teams. They their lead at teams get off on on Navy ships. And, you know, they were searching for weapons on boats and stuff. And he actually got killed with two Navy guys. So coast guard does have some combat operations and some missions like that. But for the most part, we were kind of looking at that shift into the counterterrorism role. Maybe it was real, you know, I think like everyone in the country, there was a lot of like, what's going on? For sure.
Because you talk about being from a small town where nobody knows about the Coast Guard or maybe even the military. I think a lot of people in the military shit on the Coast Guard. And I'm not going to apologize about any chance to take a shot at the Coast Guard today, we probably will. The Junior Brother, I think, but what's funny about that is I feel like most people in the Coast Guard I know have probably seen more action or done more, quote unquote, notable things than a lot of the other branches. So it's funny how that works out.
Well, yeah. And the cool thing with the Coast Guard is is like a lot of the stuff we train for we actually do, like you know, you're gonna run search and rescue Do you have an opportunity to do CPR? Hopefully not. But like, in those situations, you know, a lot of the stuff the Coasties do and they're real squared away. It's a small service. And I will say that like, they're, they're super squared away. And we're used to getting clowned. I mean, I got I got to my first army unit, which was National Guard. Right, and their combat engineers, and they were all just clowning me for being a Coastie. And we happen to have a PT test on the first day that I showed up at the unit. And I smoked them all there. And I was fine. I'll wear my life jacket boys slump. I thought that was funny that all these you know, all these army guys were getting beat by a sailor.
Tim McCarthy 5:48
What I touched on this at the beginning of the introduction with you doing ultra marathons now and we're gonna get into that a little bit later. But it sounds like you joined very physically fit and your physical fitness was something that you took very seriously, early on, and we're, we're good at it wasn't something that you got out of the service or gained later on? Is that right?
Conrad Jeffries 6:10
Well, I've always been kind of an athlete. You know, when I was a kid growing up, I played baseball and, you know, motocross, I did a lot of stuff. I was huge jack of all trades and sports, I loved all of it. But when I joined the military, I didn't have much confidence. You know, I was short, a little bit chubby, and I got around guys that were more confident than me in the Coast Guard, and started training like, you know, and really just kind of fell in love with the aspect of that. And it's been a real catalyst to my mental health throughout my life, you know, and there's just been, like, what I'm doing now. And what you've seen, since we've known each other is pretty, pretty new. I've always worked out and done stuff. And I've always been able to compete in some things. But like, I've never really took it to the next level or tried that hard. And so that's what, and we can get into it with the suicide stuff is I thought, you know, before I'm too too old, I believe I have an ability to maybe bring this summit through some of this to fruition through those talents that God gave me and through work through hard work, because that's what a lot of it is.
I don't have any doubt that you've got a really impressive track record and one that would be envied, and glorified by a lot of people, myself included. So what? So to kind of start at the beginning there with your time in the service, what, at the very beginning, how was that? Was that a big culture shock for you, coming from a small town. I'm also from the small town in Idaho, too. So I know what that's like. Talk to us a little bit about what that that was like that change your experience.
It was definitely a culture shock. But looking back, the military gave me a lot of things. I don't know if I would have got if I wouldn't have went you know, like I said the Coast Guard was small, there was nowhere to hide units everywhere. It's real small, there's and there's some real squared away dudes in there. And you know, I started to pick up on that type of lifestyle and which was real beneficial for me. And so you know, what was kind of overwhelming at first became an uncomfortable because honestly, I was scared to death to the ocean too. And that's one of the reasons I went towards the coast guard is because I could swim but like, I'm scared of sharks, I'm scared, all that stuff. And so, you know, the Coast Guard to me was something to kind of make myself uncomfortable with and yeah, I really enjoyed my time in the Coast Guard. Looking back, I you know, I got to spend some time in Astoria on a buoy tender, kind of we were we were switched into an enter Marine security strike team for counterterrorism part of the boat. We were entering team from what would later become the Marine security strike teams on the active duty component of the Coast Guard for the West Coast. Gotta go to the search and rescue station out in Georgia, just north of Jacksonville, Florida, which was pretty awesome. I love living there. And like I said, my time in the Coast Guard I was around a lot of squared away guys. And that really helped kind of my mentality which has been broken up over the years as you go through life, right? We have these periods of for me anywhere where where things are squared away and I'll screw things up and but like I got a lot of pillars from the Coast Guard of that I lean on now that I'm older, and so it was really beneficial for me.
Tim McCarthy 9:57
It's super interesting to me. It says a lot of you as a person that the main reason why he joined the Coast Guard was because it scared you. And it was kind of like a challenge for you. I remember being in navy boot camp, and we're doing our swim qualification. And there you jump off like 20 3040 foot ledge. I don't know how tall it is, but into the super big pool, and then you swim. And I remember watching all these people do it. And I've never seen more adults that could not swim. I I've been swimming since I was three years old. I am a pretty good swimmer swim competitively. And that was mind blowing to me that how are you an adult and you can't swim? to If you can't swim? Why are you in the Navy? And a lot of the guys that could not swim said the same thing. Why? Why would you join the Navy if you can't swim. It's a challenge. I wanted to learn how to swim, the water scares me whatever. So that says a lot about you as a person, I think that you're you're constantly looking for that challenge and overcoming a fear. So that's, that's pretty, that's pretty cool. As wicked.
Conrad Jeffries 11:07
Yeah. And as you guys can relate to like, being from a small town, like, at least out here, where I'm from, we're real patriotic. And so yeah, you know, there's a noble nobility behind it, that's, that carries weight to when you make that decision, anyone in those towns, I think that goes to any branch of the service, I just see them get an overwhelming amount of support, which is awesome.
Brock Briggs 11:33
And like you said, you kind of you rise to the level of the people around you. And then it feels so good to come home and get that pat on the back. And I'm assuming you came home at certain points or whatever. And everybody wants to shake your hand and everybody wants to say thank you for your service. And that that feels good. Yeah, that really is a boost. Especially if you're kind of coming in not confident.
Conrad Jeffries 11:59
Yeah. You know, you know, how post 911 Were the country was a little different for sure.
Tim McCarthy 12:05
Oh, yeah, absolutely.
Conrad Jeffries 12:06
Yeah. You know, 5,6,7 years after 911 Was it was different temperature in the country for sure on how they went about.
Tim McCarthy 12:16
When you transfer you got out of the you got out of the Coast Guard, you were out for a couple of years, right? Or a year and a half or so. Yeah, yeah. Are you transition? And then then you join the National Guard was? Was that weird for you did getting out? Was that kind of like a culture shock? I mean, how did that? How did that affect you? And did that kind of drive you to join the National Guard?
Conrad Jeffries 12:39
Yeah, you know, I didn't know what I wanted to do. Inside come back to Idaho, and I use just the jobs here. I was like, What am I going to do? So I was working construction. And, you know, I was thinking about joining a police department, maybe something along those lines. And I had a couple buddies that were in the Army National Guard. And wanted to just gotten back from their deployment in 2004 or five it was and just decided, you know, Hey, I didn't really know I to be honest. At the time I joined the National Guard. I didn't know much of a difference between the active duty Army, National Guard Army Reserve, what those different components did. Those guys were just combat engineers. So they showed me stuff blowing stuff up. And you know, they just deployed something like, Well, these guys do cool stuff. I'll go do that. And lo and behold, I joined the National Guard. I think it was in 2006. Yeah, that's how that came about.
Tim McCarthy 13:42
It's you and I have very similar stories in that regard. When I left active duty, I got out. Brock and I were both stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. If you've never been there, it is a it's that's kind of the armpit of the United States in Georgetown for a while. Okay, so yeah, so you know, it's super rough area. My wife had moved out there after we got married with our two daughters, and she, she is originally from here in Idaho, and she was just itching to get back there was not a place to raise kids. So we had had several long conversations about it. And I decided, okay, that's the best thing for the family. I will I went directly from active duty into the reserves. And is same thing I got out I my father in law owns a construction company. I work construction with him for a few months. And I I think it was like my second or third drill weekend. I was talking to anybody I can about how do I deploy? You know what, when's the next deployment? And I remember I came home and I told my wife, Hey, there's this deployment that I could volunteer for and she was livid. It is just such a culture shock, and kind of playing to the mental health aspect of it. I think no matter what you do, you go from one morning you wake up and you're putting the uniform on and kind of going back to the patriotic small town feel you're important, you know, you're putting that uniform on. And then the next day, you're driving back to your hometown or wherever and you're just, you're just Joe Schmo who was in the military, and now you're working construction or whatever. And that's not to speak poorly on anybody working in construction or anything like that. There's nothing bad with that. It just it is a major culture shock. And for I know, at least for me, personally, the first couple of months of getting out were they were rough. Mentally and mental health wise, it was it was weird, you know, just a change in identity.
Conrad Jeffries 15:54
Yeah, I think your sense of purpose is questioned a lot, you know, when you when you get out of uniform?
Tim McCarthy 16:00
That's exactly it. Yeah, for sure.
Brock Briggs 16:02
Well, and it's funny, because while you're into you think about like, I don't know, if you had a similar experience in the Coast Guard, but it everybody complains, it's, it's always how bad it is, or I don't want to go to work or oh, I've got duty weekend and everybody just bitches nonstop. And then you finally get out and you're, you're like, Oh, now what? Like you're, you're missing those people to commiserate with and like you almost like Miss being miserable. I don't know why that is. But like you, you really, that's taken from you. And maybe it's the sense of purpose, or I don't know what it is. I still kind of feel like I'm trying to figure what out what that feeling is. But it's interesting being out and then not not having that thing, even though you hate it.
Conrad Jeffries 16:51
Yeah, yeah. And you know, a lot of guys, that's just the politics, we all know what the military is the organization's we've been in. So we all kind of have those feelings towards that. But yeah, there's definitely a love hate relationship that pulls you back and forth.
Tim McCarthy 17:07
It sounds like you had quite a few search and rescue missions. Is that right? You've done several of them.
Conrad Jeffries 17:15
No, I mean, sortie wise, sure, but like actual cases that were like super hairy. And just a couple, really, you
Brock Briggs 17:25
would you mind telling us about one or two of them?
Conrad Jeffries 17:28
I can think of you know, I had I can think of a case where we got some prescription, a guy had gotten lost, and was going I can't remember what his condition was. But he was stuck out in the intercostal waterway. And we got him and got his medication to him. But a couple cases where we pulled people out of water had a gal die on me doing CPR. Most of the other ones I was a part of that were like there was serious injury or death were deaths, usually a bridge jumper, a drowning by the time we got there. But as far as like, you know, kind of what you seen on the movies and the heavy weather and stuff, I was never involved in any of that. We had some just not very rough seas where I was at on the East Coast. And so usually it was more of the negligence part on the people either operating the boat or whatever. Sometimes, you know, whether they still get heavy weather there and stuff just not comparable to like the Northeast or the, you know, the west coast as far as heavy weather search and rescue because that's what a lot of people think of Sure. You know, those are really the only only big ones I can think of we did a lot a lot of law enforcement, a lot of fisheries, stuff like that. To
Brock Briggs 19:00
think that one of the things that sounds the most interesting to me about the Coast Guard is you're you're directly hands on involved with people that are not military. And I think that that that exposure opens up a lot of doors because you're not and maybe not good ones. But you're dealing with people that like don't understand the military lifestyle or or whatever you want to call it. And it sounds like in a story like that where you're directly responsible for a non military person's life. And they're, they're hanging kind of in your hands. What do you feel kind of like an overwhelming responsibility? Whoa, what is that like interacting with people in that setting?
Conrad Jeffries 19:45
Um, that particular setting was pretty chaotic. It happened to be during I believe it was spring break and it was right off the St. Simons Is the island and on the backside of St. Simons Island, I can't remember the name of it. But there's when you come across the causeway from Brunswick, Georgia, over the intercostal waterway to get to St. Simons Island, there's a boat pier and restaurant and a lot of stuff right down there. And we had taken the family out of the water and the mother and father was in shock. We got him to the dock mother drowned on me was doing CPR. But that was one of the more weird because it was like, there were people around and people had stopped on the causeway and it was like this big scene, right? But to me, it was just like this big fog. Yeah, getting, you know, however, and I was the one doing the CPR, but like, at first, when we first pulled up on scene to get, you know, to get out, get people out of the water. And what's surprising is people that don't know how to swim that will go out on the ocean and nothing boat or out in the water is crazy. But you know, the Coast Guard and the guys I was around, we all you know kind of took to it and did our thing. We got them to the dock. It's unfortunately, the mother passed away. But it's tough when you're dealing with civilians, because they don't kind of understand to like, my big beef. As I was having a hard time with mom. I was getting her to vomit. But she was it was tough. And like I said she ended up passing. But her kids were right there. And I was trying to get people to get the kids out. And my guys finally got the kids out of the way and back by by this time I believe an ambulance came. And we finally got EMTs down there. But yeah, it was it was it was just really chaotic. Because it was like a kind of a, you know, there's a restaurant there and people are pulling their sailboats and and we pull up in this chaotic rush and just break everything up with that pulling people off the boat. And so I think that was kind of a shock to the people around us. And then the situation was pretty, pretty hairy for us as well, just because of you know, having the kids and the husband in shock. And the kids were all fine. They had life jackets, the parents didn't
Tim McCarthy 22:19
you talk about it was kind of just like a fog while you're doing it. You mean kind of just like you're in this hyper focus. I'm doing my job. And I'm not really I can't I guess I can't really pay attention to anything else that's going around going on around me where you're just hyper focused in and you have kind of really no recollection of everything else going on in that situation.
Conrad Jeffries 22:45
Yeah, and you know, you're it's like, being in a situation where like, you're, it's your happen to everything seems shut out almost. And you're like capital, remind yourself of the training and the steps. And, you know, getting the confidence to follow through. I think all that's going through your mind just 100 miles an hour, you know, what do I do? What do I do? And then, in any case, it's like, when you're in a small team like that someone has to be taking action somewhere with something and like I said, I was around really good guys. That just keeps the wheels turning for everyone, no matter who's, you know? Yeah, absolutely. That was that was really the only bad case I ever did. As far as like craziness.
Brock Briggs 23:38
Yeah, sure. I think that situations like that are very reminiscent of you spend so much time training, it seems like while you're in the military, you're rehashing the same, like, Okay, I've been to CPR class like 100 times, you know, I don't need to know it again. Or like you're you're studying, you're getting qualifications that say you can do all these things. But it's in moments like that, where it really matters, where all of that just kind of like fades away. And you can like go to work and put everything that you've been practicing in when at a time when it matters. And I feel like a lot of people wait for that. And a lot of people don't get it. Ideally, you don't want to but it's more of a readiness thing. You need to be ready to do that when the time comes. So that's interesting to to hear somebody like on the ground dealing with that and putting that training to work. If you don't mind me asking. Obviously dealing with losing somebody like that is going to be difficult. How do you how do you deal with that? What is is that something that you still kind of carry and hold on to? What was that like after the fact? Is that something that you thought was thought about a lot or dealt with? Can you kind of share about that
Conrad Jeffries 24:54
share? Um, I don't carry it anymore. But you know, I was young I was I must have been 21. Wow.
Brock Briggs 25:05
And young to be dealing with something like that. Yeah, my salutely
Conrad Jeffries 25:09
Must I look back and I talked my wife about this as like my senior cheat news some, right because he, he had called me and I actually had got a chance to go to the hospital, I wanted to see if they were able to revive her. And like I said, she didn't live, even knowing, you know, if you're to the point, you're doing CPR on someone after drowning, the chances are real slim. There's a chance though, right? So like, there was a couple of things I was dealing with the fact she died in front of her kids. And then, you know, we all joined to be the hero, especially in the Coast Guard, like, that's the situation you want. There's people around, you're getting an opportunity to save someone's life, and it just doesn't happen. And so you do carry that weight. And, you know, my senior chief was, I look back now he was wiser than me. sesta. He, he knew some was up. And I think he had obviously lived through that a few times. You know, he was we called him an old salty dog. But you know, he was pretty concerned about me. But I was young with a pretty big ego. And one of the, you know, little rock stars at the unit. So I was, I'm good. I'm good. I shook every you know, but no, it could affect me for a long time. And as you read in some of my stuff, you know, I self medicated with alcohol throughout my life. And so that was one of the situations that I would self medicate with.
Brock Briggs 26:31
Is that something that was the beginning with alcohol and using that to self medicate? Is that something that started while you were in the military or something that you took on before? What before you joined?
Conrad Jeffries 26:42
No, I started about the I think I was I had my first trip, maybe 13 ish. never really got into it a few years later. You know, I started doing it. And it was more of a like, getting to party and hanging out with your friends and I now I can actually talk to girls, I have some confidence, that type of thing. You know, and that's kind of how that started. But as I, as it was, for me, I don't know about a lot of people. You know, alcohol is this thing where we use it to celebrate. And we also use it to mourn. And we use it when we've had a bad day sometimes, and we use it when we get paychecks. And for some reason, we have this weird bond with alcohol in our emotions. And, you know, it took me a long time to figure out how I was using alcohol and in my emotions, and it's, you know, when when I would drink, you know, it was it was always something it was celebration on the weekend. It was there's always an excuse. And that's why I tell guys, it's real dangerous, because your emotion will take you to the drink every time. There's always a reason. You know, there's bad or good.
Brock Briggs 28:04
I think that that is all of that is so true. You really will do you'll justify it in any way that you need to. And I think that it's kind of exacerbated by military culture, just as a whole. I, I know that to be true outside of the military, but I honestly feel like it's made worse by the military. Would you agree?
Conrad Jeffries 28:29
Yeah, I think it's, it definitely can be and, you know, I remember I'm trying to root it out when I got in the old wedding downs and stuff like that, like they have in the Navy and the Coast Guard. Or the frown on that stuff. But it's alcoholism is rooted pretty deep in the ranks. I went in as a drinker, which probably wasn't a good thing. And like I said, when I started, you know, emotionally, it was, Oh, I'm gonna get to go party with my friends or I get to do this. But like I said, there's always those situations that come up in life. Someone dies someone this and pretty soon, once you've used alcohol to cope with those bigger deals, those bigger emotions, it's easier to let it take over for controlling all your emotions. And so I think a lot of people, you know, they pick up a drink, because that's how they've solved a bad problem in the past or a good feeling in the past. And so, for me, anyway.
Tim McCarthy 29:29
Yeah, it's you're pretty open about you know, your, your alcohol abuse and stuff like that. When did it when did you kind of realize, like, you had that epiphany of, okay, this is like, this is getting out of hand. I need to maybe I need to start thinking about, you know, done with this at a young age.
Conrad Jeffries 29:49
Yeah, I've been arrested multiple times for DUI. Like, like, you guys kind of went through it. And you know, hey, you've got this credential and this credential. All my life man. I've screws does up because of it. So like, for me, when I talk to you guys now and you know, I just got my six years of sobriety October 17. A lot of guys look at like, I'm with them, I'm with them on the phone, and I'm with them emotionally and exactly where they're at. Because they're like, I'm trying to tell him like, Listen, you have to separate yourself from your crowd, because like, you guys know, there's always your emotions there. But there's always going to be that reason. And when you're first in sobriety, I tell this guys all the time, because I went through it, to look at 30 days is crazy to look at and think I'm not gonna have when you've drank, drank since you're a teenager, and been in the military and done all this shit. And now you're 37 years old. And you you know, you've drank for 20 years and you tell you deal with everything. And you look at a year, like you're you're stressed out about a wedding that's coming up, you're stressed out about this, it's coming up, like, how am I going to get through all this? And really, you don't have to worry about any of that you just have to look at today. And if you can get through today, then tomorrow's tomorrow. But like that forecasting of failure. I did it. I tried. I couldn't tell you how many times I've tried to quit drinking in my life. Hundreds, hundreds.
Tim McCarthy 31:19
Well, it I know that you've talked about, you know, you got several DUIs, and, and that's, it just kind of kept happening. And do you think that that, that that holds you back in the military for for promotions and stuff like that? I would assume even back then, I know,
Conrad Jeffries 31:40
my problem, too, was like with the Army. I was like in 2013, soldier of the year, I was a glory boy for the unit. Right? Yeah. Yeah. Sometimes when you're the glory boy stuff, you know, you just get a slap on the hand. And yeah, I was, it sucked because I disappointed a lot, a lot, a lot of my leadership with my actions, and that it played a big role on on me too.
Brock Briggs 32:11
And I think that that goes to show like, you have no idea what somebody is struggling with, they can be the all star of the unit, like you say, and, or you just see kind of the surface level of like, oh, this person is getting an award, this person's doing this, they're doing that. But unless you know them intimately, you're not going to know like, hey, this person's going home and they're drinking every night, or what kind of stuff they're struggling with or whatnot. I there's nothing that hits the nail on the head more than more than that I feel like with, especially in the military culture.
Conrad Jeffries 32:46
Yeah. And that's really kind of where, you know, I got a DUI and was ended up getting discharged. And I was looking at just what the hell happened, right? And in my life, and this and that, and I went about a year I had quit drinking, I was about 12 months sober. But when I got arrested, like I kind of knew what was going to happen, right? Like, okay, I got a divorce coming. I'm gonna go bankrupt. I mean, every aspect of your life gets, basically. So I lost my career lost all that. And if I wouldn't have been sober for those 12 months, when that divorce finally happened. It wasn't necessarily just the divorce. It was just a combination of everything I was done, you know, and I didn't quit. And when I didn't do it, I was really interested in figuring it out. And it really came down to at the time, like, I couldn't do it because I was silver. As perceived as that sounds, and then I started thinking about, well, how many guys do I know that I've served with that have, you know, shot themselves? And I'm
Tim McCarthy 34:06
Sorry to cut you off. When you say I didn't do it. You mean commit suicide?
Conrad Jeffries 34:10
Yeah, I, I decided to, like hang myself in my garage. And, okay, I had had a really bad day, and I just picked up the phone called the right person, and it didn't happen. And I really credit being sober from alcohol. Because I think about like, if I would have had that day and been drunk, all bets are off. And then I started thinking about how many guys do I know that have sucked started a shotgun under the influence? It's quite a bit and this is when shot at dawn project started to kind of be born. And I got really interested in trying to fix myself and I got really interested in the veteran suicide problem. And I'm not like nine Due to the fact that I'm I'm not the typical, like, I think a lot of times when people think of veteran suicide, right, they're thinking of someone that deployed to Afghanistan and got blown up three times, and this and that. And that's that happens. We got a lot of combat Vets struggle, and but there is, there's a percentage of our overall stats, which are massive, and they're a smaller part of that percentage. So I think, you know, there's, there's this kind of misconception out of the gate with veteran suicide. And as you were talking about kind of at the unit level, I really wanted to figure out what the hell we could do at the unit level, right? Because when I started looking at the veteran suicide problem, the first thing I said to myself, as we're looking at everyone else is vets. Right? This is Congress, this is the Department of the fence, this is the Pentagon, this is their problem, why aren't they fixing it? Right? This is the VA. And I thought, well, what if we took it at the command level and look at this problem? How can we fix it? And I don't know if you know this, but shot at Donna's signal, historically significant. That's from World War One where British commanders executed 309 soldiers for desertion and other things, what really happened is the man had had severe shell shock, and extreme battle fatigue. And what you know, they said they'd gone mad this that the other thing, but you know, before those men were shot, they went through a legal process. And that's when the, the idea of the shot at dawn project kind of was created at the command level for me. And I saw a hole in our system, our non judicial punishment system and our counseling system. And that's when I develop the form for commanders for an A suicide officer for better evaluation, when someone gets flagged under one of those eight layers, ie shows up the formation drunk, right? His line leader doesn't just even in a more extreme case, let's say they're gonna do an NJP on him. It during that NJP process, they could use this form to evaluate, just like you're saying a lot of times, you know, hey, this guy got the, you know, pee dirty, on dope, he did this, he did that. So he goes in, he gets his dope counselling, he gets his rank tanking, he gets a little pay taken. And then we're off to the next one, right? This forces the command to go over the reasons I believe, veterans and military members take their lives. So going over each layer with the suicide officer and given us a chance to flag those members early on, in ranks. And I think that we can squash a lot of these at the command level. And again, we talk about veteran suicide, veteran suicide, it's an active duty problem. And these guys come from active duty in the National Guard and the Army Reserve and the Naval Reserve. And I say this all the time, the facility I designed that I know could work. We could put every homeless veteran at now and have 100% status saving them. And we wouldn't be doing ourselves any favors, because we got a fresh crop coming through the next day, until we start facing this problem and fighting this problem from conception, which is bootcamp and how we address these eight layers throughout a military members career. I don't know that we're really ever going to fix this. So you know, that's where I'm fighting athletically to kind of get my end, I just now started I've been on a break from doing any of this stuff, really for about a year except for the athletic side, and the media sides. Now, I want to talk a little bit more about, you know, what we've developed and what we've donated to the federal government and what I believe will come to fruition and
You know, I 100% believe this is beatable. 100% believe I create created a full solution. And as we've seen with these recent bills, there's no doubt in my mind, they could afford to build one, possibly 50. As far as facilities for vets, and there's just so much I think offensively that we can do that we're not doing. And so I'm excited to bring that new perspective to veteran suicide because it's a stuck in the mud perspective. Every time I'm online, and with the you know, those active duty stats coming out, it's absurd. We cannot sustain that our military.
Brock Briggs 39:53
You're absolutely right. What you gave us a little bit of a history lesson and talking about how long All this has been going on like this is something that goes back to our military's inception, likely in one way or another. And we're maybe a little bit more privy to the problem now and more sensitive, like you said to, to active duty, folks, people coming back from deployment, this not all very important stuff. But in your opinion, why? Why hasn't it improved? We have all of this training, I probably sat through 100 Different suicide prevention trainings, in my four years in the military, at least. And my last year while that I was in the Navy, we lost seven people to suicide on my boat alone, seven people, and I don't. What what's the problem? Are they just looking at the wrong things? You know, it's they obviously know it's a problem, they wouldn't be putting us through the trainings without it. What's the issue? What's the disconnect?
Conrad Jeffries 40:59
Yeah, I think there's a lot of disconnect, excuse me. First off, we have to look at the social demographic we're recruiting from, right. Like, who's who's jumping in line to get $20,000? Get through the legs blown off and Iraq? Someone has never had $20,000? Before? Right? Yeah, yeah, we're, you know, they first off, and it's not uncommon for a high ranking officer to ex himself. This is full scale with this. But, you know, just like, with Vietnam, the guys that picked up the weight there, we're talking about the lower classes, society, most of us are blue collar, right, we come from a lower monetarily demographic. And when you're looking at social demographics, I know there were a lot of guys in my unit man that they were, they had nothing growing up. And they were in the National Guard with nothing. And you've got a higher probability of alcoholism in the family, all these different things. And then you get them in service, whether you give bonus money, you know, you pull them away from home, and they bring in any of those ailments, whether it's alcoholism, and they pick it up in ranks, however, they pick it up. You know, the morale on any boat, all of that is going to play a factor. But the core of this comes down to our our military members. And I'll ask you this, you guys, I'm asking you a cold since you both served it. How much of your paycheck? Would you be willing to bet? Right? And I'll give you like, so for example, alcoholism, financial loss and divorce, right? Relationship issues, sexual assault, right? Think about how many guys those seven out of those seven guys? How many of them had an incident lated to one of those pharmaceutical drugs throughout as simple as counseling?
Tim McCarthy 42:55
If I had to bet, I would say probably all of them all seven of them, I would think, or at least five out of seven.
Conrad Jeffries 43:05
How many things actually have NJP? Action?
Brock Briggs 43:10
These are good. I don't know the answers to those questions. But like, that's that I think you're hitting on?
Conrad Jeffries 43:17
Yeah, yeah. How many? Well,
Brock Briggs 43:21
So you're, you're pointing out that those those signs like getting flagged for, hey, this person got a DUI or whatever those should be triggers, like, hey, we need to be looking at these people more and we need to be,
Conrad Jeffries 43:36
We got to look at it. Okay, so in my case, in a lot of guys cases, we got to look at kind of the situation of when they pulled the trigger. Right. And so, you know, if a guy's broke, I like to say this, like, if I'm a commanding officer, right, and I get Joe Schmo inherit, he just got a, let's say, a DUI. And he comes in and gives me the song and dance, and we're going to make him do his counseling, and he's going to do his civilian legal stuff. He's got to get handled, we're going to drop his rank, we're gonna do this, that and the other thing, and then I send him on his way, I only know that he's got a drinking problem, right? And maybe five, six days later, he pulls the trigger on himself, you know, did I have an opportunity to talk to him about what his finances were like? Literally $100 in his account, as opposed to minus $600 could have that saved his life that day. You know, I'd like to say little things like that we'll never truly know the answer to but I'd like to think we have a shot right. And another thing that could carry on from this is if we're attacking these, right if you're getting a guy that's 19 and wet behind the years and he's from a rough family, and he joined the infantry or join a combat engineers or he joined the Navy for that bonus money, you know, and he's or college money, whatever his reason And he takes one of those issues in service, you've got an opportunity there when he flags himself, you're already going to go through a legal process with them, whether it's just a line leader counseling, and we know once, once ink hits the paper on a service member, it has to fall in those situations last fall under the commander's authority, right, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, that those those levels of non judicial punishment all the way up to court martial, all the way down to accounting, are we missing an opportunity there, to better evaluate these guys and get them help? Because you and I, all of us know even for active duty and reserve, man, they put it, you need help with something and you go to a line leader, that's one of the first things, sure there's some frowning on it, but there's, there's resources out there, you know, from financial aid, if a guy is going through a divorce, and comes up short on some bills, from medical stuff, if some TRICARE is not going to, you know, I will say this, a lot of units have great support as far as like, it's just not getting put to use necessarily.
Brock Briggs 46:06
Well, and I think that the, I think you hit on this a little bit, when people get in trouble, or something happens, one of those flags goes off. And if it comes down to getting an NJP, or whatever it is, that whole experience is, it's so transactional, it's, Hey, you lost rank, and here's half months pay times to like, and then they they do their time and at least on the boat, you go to restriction for 60 days, maybe you sweep a couple extra floors, and then you're reformed after that, quote, unquote, like that's, that's the end of it. And I think what you're pointing out here is that the buck doesn't stop there, like there, that should be a sign that, hey, this person, we need to spend some more time with this person. And be looking for more there.
Tim McCarthy 46:58
I think it really comes down to just caring, like you're saying somebody gets a DUI. It's true, exactly right. It's just transactional, where if your CEO or XO or whoever just cared to look into it a little bit more, I think you absolutely hit the nail on the head, you could save countless service members by just caring and looking a little bit further into it. And Brock, you're talking about, in our four years, we probably went through 100 suicide prevention trainings. And when I think back to those, that there, everybody's just, Okay, another training. It's just a bandaid. It's just a check in the box. It's not actually a solution. Nobody's ever taking that stuff seriously.
Conrad Jeffries 47:51
Until Yeah, until the Department of Defense in the Pentagon is willing to look at why servicemembers are taking their lives and then correcting those situations in ranks. And trying to correct those situations in ranks before they get out of ranks. What are they doing? Yeah, wasting their time.
Tim McCarthy 48:10
I think, I think if you were to put a process into place where something like that does happen, and okay, now the process isn't just go NJP here's your demotion, here's your punishment, do this, this. And this, if you put a process into place, where it was kind of, okay, you're gonna have to get a punishment, but also lets you know, you as the CEO, or the commander, or whoever's in charge there, you have to look into this into the sailor and that kind of thing and kind of forcing their hand almost. Yeah,
Conrad Jeffries 48:45
And you know, what level can we use this set for medical discharge boards to generalize discharge boards, right? Like, if you really want to send service members on and off on the right foot? You should probably check these boxes if you don't want them, you know, but hey, well, we'll see where this fight leads us, but I unconfident that. We've got something here. And, you know, just to hear you guys said, it's really 100% Last someone like, you know, and it doesn't really matter what branch because we've all been there as far as like, hey, if I told you this many layers, like and these are three of them. How many guys out of that would have been affected by those three or four layers at one point in their career where it was noticeable and talked about and put on paper at one point, even if it's from any five that put it on paper as the first line later, or the first petty officer in front of that E three or whatever. Like was anything taken because of the waves? It was are we missing something there and we definitely are. And, you know, our commanders and service are highly educated. They have the legal authority out in the field to take our lives literally Oh, yes, give him a little. And I think they'll welcome it with open arms to give them a little power, as far as like, better serving this and you don't have to be a psychiatrist to mark. And my form is real rudimentary, but it's built for rock throwers, like, you know, there's no need to overthink this. As far as you know, if a guy's struggling financially or not, or if he's, you know, you're how many of our females that are taking their lives have had a sexual assault on the record? I think the percentage is over. I'd have to relook it's high. It's like I think it's over 90,
Tim McCarthy 50:37
I would assume it would be very high. That sexual assault in the military, that alone is that's another major issue. I mean, Brock, I'm sure you and I know how many girls that have, unfortunately, had some sort of sexual assault while they're, during their time in the military. And and that's that alone. One is a separate issue that needs to really be cracked down on but it's also just absolutely heartbreaking.
Conrad Jeffries 51:05
You know, good. Well,
Brock Briggs 51:08
I was just gonna say, if you, I think, from what I can remember from a lot of the trainings that we did, especially when it comes to suicide, and then as we're talking about your sexual assault, a lot of the training revolves around saying something, and finding ways to be comfortable to have the conversation and saying, Hey, are you thinking about hurting yourself? Hey, has somebody said or done something to you, and like being just even broaching the subject is the hard part that at least that the the military is like training the people I mean, Tim, and I got out in 2018, that's like what they are telling us about, like how to have those conversations. It like you're saying, it needs to be something more, because it's really not working. Before we started recording, you're talking about some of the numbers that the Pentagon just released? Do you want to walk us through some of those numbers, and then maybe walk us through these eight layers that you're talking about, so that we can kind of hear about those?
Conrad Jeffries 52:13
Well, they just released the stats that this quarter, their suicide rates have gone up 46%. So that's and saying, I, you know, since Vietnam, there's been over 300,000. And not to backtrack here, but I did want to say, you know, as far as just the military and what we're talking about, and what they could do, and what the Pentagon I do, I also like to talk about, kind of like what we can do, and that's where I'm hopeful that like, just on my story. And what I'm doing like other guys can look at that, like, Hey, you can quit drinking, a lot of this comes down to the pills, and the booze. You know, we all know that. And that's ultimately on us whether the VA is over prescribing dudes, which you know, they are, and not helping the cause. And not all these, all these substances, really, at the end of the day come down to us. And so I think it's important for vets that have struggled, you know, no matter what your background, no matter your, whatever, if you've struggled with suicide and your vet, and you're doing things good, like, that's how we, you know, the little tools I learned from you are going to help keep me you know, saying I say that, like, we'll learn from each other too. And this recovery phase, and this and what we're doing for in, you know, for me, it's not going to be for everyone but the running. And you know, the exercise, the old man is accountable and challenging myself, all that helps, you know, helps me and so I hope other guys see that, you know, hey, I'll try that out. Maybe not my lane, but in the same with the, you know, the alcohol or whatever guys vices are like, I think it's important that vets are leading this charge to
Brock Briggs 54:05
Yeah, I think that it really comes down to we all have to be doing something and not only just saying something but being there for other people. And I think that part of the one of the reasons why we're doing this is creating an establishing a veterans network where we can talk to people and open up these conversations and be willing to have the conversations that other people aren't willing to. And we're really thankful to have you on the show here to talk about that today. You have been working to kind of raise awareness with these ultra marathons all of these this crazy running and competitions and stuff. I highlighted a little bit of those at the beginning. What kind of got you into doing that we talked a little bit earlier about your prior interest in physical fitness and your desire but you said that this is kind of more of a recent thing is it is it purely an awareness thing or
Conrad Jeffries 54:57
Well back in the fall of Back in 2019. I noticed the guy got national news for I think he had ruck march 200 miles, something like that. And he was raising money for a nonprofit that was, you know, doing whatever those things. They do a lot of great stuff for families and suicide victims and stuff like that. So when they raise that money, it goes to a lot of good places. But I'm like, Hmm, if he's doing that for that, and I've created all this, which is different lane, what can I do to challenge myself, that's when I came up with the 200 mile run from it ended up being Lancaster to Las Vegas, 210 miles, we couldn't launch out of LA because of the traffic and stuff like that. But so I wanted to challenge myself to do something no one thought I could do and was able to do that run, but it didn't get much attention or anything like that it was right before COVID. But I don't think it was really meant to, I think it was kind of the beginning of the path I would begin to take and yeah, just really, I started to do that to get attention on what I created. And then when I got into it, I realize the growth that can be with with that, right, and like, hey, maybe this is not only my calling, but if I'm gonna get get to the level, I need to get out with my background, the respect among the people I need to get like, I'll become one of the baddest man on the planet, I can do it and help get this in, you know, it's become I'm kind of the project in a sense, I'd become the project. And so yeah, just that that kind of explains that I'm just doing it to, to get the opportunities to speak on this. That's definitely and I've, I've held off this last year, obviously, the mullah 240 Didn't work out, I got injured, but I'll be back next year. But yeah, just I've just been waiting to talk a little bit about this. We've got pieces in the right place, and eventually I'm confident we'll get it kicked off.
Brock Briggs 57:27
Do you think that you have to do this because or like do you feel like not taken seriously because of your background? And like maybe things that you've done or getting a DUI or any of those things? Do you feel like people don't give you the credence because of that and this is a way to reconcile that and show people that you're you're you're walking the talk so to speak
Conrad Jeffries 57:55
Yeah, I think that's that was one of the one of the factors when I began Yeah, it was it was definitely like hey, you know no one wants to take me seriously because of my background. Like I firmly believe with what I've created I know this if I was someone else I would already be a glory boy but I'm glad that it's gone down like this I really um because it's I don't really take much weight in that anymore it's it's become like real personal to me and like my relationship with with God I think that he helped have a hand in me craziness and um, I'm no perfect dude. I'd never claim to be but you know just really pushing myself now to become a better man and all aspects and and you know, I do want to prove people wrong that's a big part of this but it doesn't drive me anymore. It's a it's a fun chip to have on my shoulder. What drives me is I think that this can save lives. And I'm dumbfounded about how bad the problems gotten in there lack of giving a shit frankly, you know, to put it in other words and so what I thought was a disadvantage people not believing in me and or not wanting to give me opportunities because my background I think ultimately has been an advantage because it's helped make me grind harder and think of you know, and when you do that stuff it's in get more uncomfortable I think there's growth there so just like with the more up to 40 and I built my whole year around that not those all everything else I did it was all about the mob 240 At the end of the day, and so to go down there and get injured when I was running like I was running was pretty heartbreaking. But you know that that left me pretty quick. Lee and I'm right back up ready to go next year and just like hey, I'm not on my clock here. It's not my time yet. I'll just keep digging. And eventually I'll dig through.
Brock Briggs 1:00:11
And this was a for those that don't know, the Moab 240 is, I'm assuming a 240 mile race.
Conrad Jeffries 1:00:18
Yeah. 240 mile Ultra race run. Yeah, one of the most extreme in the world is pretty, pretty intense.
Brock Briggs 1:00:25
And you were you were placed pretty high at the time when you you took an injury, correct?
Conrad Jeffries 1:00:30
Yeah, I think I was in fifth when I first rolled my ankle, and then had gone back a couple spots. And I went down the third time, I think I was only 23 miles in roughly the 240 mile race, but so I didn't get experienced much of it. But what I did experience evidence, you know, it's a very technical course. The baddest people in the world run our skies are insane. But yeah, they run those la cruz mountains 240 miles around the most extreme environment you can imagine. And I think the guy that wanted this year went and 55 hours. So they do it with little to no sleep.
Tim McCarthy 1:01:11
I saw a little bit of it on your Instagram. You had twisted your ankle, once kept running. twisted it again. Kept right you did it three times right before you you were like I can't like I'm gonna really put myself out potentially for good.
Conrad Jeffries 1:01:28
Yeah, the third time I had rolled it, it was real painful. It popped. Oh, well went up. And by that time just to move I was using my poles as crutches. Yeah. And so I knew I was cooked basically, when you go tend to go or whatever it is. And that and that type of terrain. It's like, okay, next time I go in, and I was going down and like, when I roll it out with fall, I was going down and like, you know, wet slip rock, just Canyon is pretty bad terrain. So, you know, we had to pack it in and save it for next year. But like I said, it's it's cool because I got to go down there. I got to compete a little bit. I was in the top 10 I was hanging in I saw what it takes. So next year I'll return stronger.
Tim McCarthy 1:02:19
As somebody who I don't run unless I'm being chased and a better be something really big chasing me. That is like unimaginable to me to be like yep, I'm gonna go run 210 miles I get that just blows my mind and then have the the mental fortitude the physical strength, the mental strength to hurt yourself not once but three times before you finally were like Yeah, I can't. So that obviously you can do it again next year it that blows me away. And I think that it really speaks on getting that the exposure for his shot at dawn project. It's a really, really cool concept and I can really appreciate it.
Conrad Jeffries 1:03:13
Yeah, thank you. I appreciate it. Yeah,
Tim McCarthy 1:03:15
Brock Briggs 1:03:17
What do you like kind of just had like some general questions about your your running and stuff. What I wonder is how do you do that? Anyway, like that? How do you train and say, Hey, I'm gonna go run 240 miles. What is the preparation like for that? What's going through your head leading up to that kind of walk us through the lead up to trying to tackle that big of a problem?
Conrad Jeffries 1:03:48
Um, I'll just well revert back to my 210 I just started running 10 mile legs in the morning at 10 at night, reading some stuff on recovery. How to keep your legs because like anyone else I run man, my legs would cramp up I can't hardly walk. learned a few tricks, you know, and I did that. Las Vegas run and came back and you know, trying to rediscover how to how to really do the Moab 240 and do it well. And that's why this year I put a lot of different challenges before it not only for those, but to help me train up for it. Yeah, it's just one step at a time one mile at a time. Like, it's it can there's days in weeks and months where every run when I start out is a little miserable. I have days where it's like I'm gonna go take off and I'm so quick. Right now I want my ankle to heal. I miss run and so like my first week back I'm gonna be super happy. But like, for the most part, you gotta get Get through that mental thing of like, this is going to suck. And you know when you do that on the first mile day one and you can start doing that consistently that 240 Miles those those longer things don't become so unfathomable but yeah, I mean bail is part of this failures part of it. The Iron Man, you know, I did I got one in five hours, three, four minutes, but I failed twice. Before that. You know, there's in this, there's been a lot of that there's been a lot of like, getting injured, there's, it doesn't work out, right. It never does, how you plan it. But you know, I've learned in this process, like getting those credentials is great, but you got to be willing to go down and fight for them. Because you're not going to get them the first time every time when you're in this ultra world into this this highly, I guess your endurance world with triathletes and stuff like this. You're gonna fail. But that's what that's what's great about this, it gives you the opportunity to come back. And I think that's a catalyst with everything in life, you know, one of those things, so. Yeah, just preparing for the mob. 240 Yeah, it was I was stoked. I was ready. You know, I did that cam Haynes week to help prepare for it. But I've pretty much in the last year, I'd have to pull up my miles. But you know, I 50 a week.
Tim McCarthy 1:06:39
That's 50 miles in my lifetime.
Conrad Jeffries 1:06:42
Yeah, 50 miles a week, you can probably run 200 miles, you're just gonna have to train a little different.
Brock Briggs 1:06:47
But his maybe run five miles in his life. And all five were in the Navy for PT tests. No, that is true.
Conrad Jeffries 1:06:54
Even him, you know, you never know. But yeah, a lot of guys want to know how and it's I don't know how to say how I just know that like, the fear of failure and the fear of actually getting out and going and doing it, I have that. And I have the anxiety on just going out and doing a five mile run a lot of days and then not wanting to do it.
Brock Briggs 1:07:20
Conrad Jeffries 1:07:23
Like you don't even know like, there'll be days, I would rather go to the dentist than run a half mile long, multiple miles, you know what I mean? Do anything?
Brock Briggs 1:07:36
Why is that? Why is knowing that you've literally run 210 Miles almost straight. But how does the doing a smaller run doesn't make that it's still that big of a deal every time.
Conrad Jeffries 1:07:52
I mean, sure, you can look at something and go, Oh, I've ran this length before. So this is nothing or I've done 100 miles before. So a marathon is nothing but and that's true, in a sense, but it's, you know, it's stepping up to the plate each time with a new pitcher, right? It's the same feeling. It's it's, it's hard to get off the couch. Some days, it's hard to stay motivated. And the only thing that gets you past like motivation is, you know, they say it's a lot of guys saying real and you know, in a sense, they're right because it's only gonna get you so far as discipline. And you know, running is I find a lot of peace in running, I find a lot of grace and running. But the first two miles of every run sucks donkey dick. Frankly, it's just like a lot of like, I'm not warmed up yet. This sucks. And once I get going and my head's in the right spot. I'm cool. But yeah, man, I'm nothing special. When it comes to running. I don't like doing it necessarily all the time. And going out and starting is the hardest part, you know? And so I tell people, if you can take the first step, you can run 100 to 240 miles because it's literally what it was for me. It's it's an everyday grind of am I gonna run today? Am I gonna do this, you know, or am I not? And I've had those I had that day today. Like even though I'm not supposed to really be running quite yet. Like I wanted to do a 5k and I got up super early this morning. I was like my ankles not 100% yet, but like, I also wanted to get it loose and I know it'll help in my recovery if I just go get it stretched a little bit. And you know, I kind of want to see where I'm at. So you know I got it done and I felt way better and it wasn't that bad. But man getting my shoes on this morning was a nightmare. Yeah. And I've had a great year and athletics and it's just and that's just To 5k. So I tell guys like, you can, you can do it. Because I fight my fight my bitch ass every day that's I quit fighting the outside world, I started fighting the bitch me. And that's when I started improving.
Brock Briggs 1:10:15
Slim, that's such a, an anecdote that applies to so much in life, just that the first step is always the hardest of like starting something new or even something like you, you're obviously a phenomenal runner. But to hear that you struggle with taking that first step is I think it's encouraging. And a lot of people can take solace in the fact that whatever it is that they're fighting at this point, maybe it's trouble with alcohol, maybe it's thoughts of suicide, maybe it's running, maybe other people are running the Moab 240, this next year with you. I think that that first step is the most important, and kind of reverting back to your training after that.
Conrad Jeffries 1:10:59
Yeah, and it's, you know, it's not, it's not always going to be smooth. When you get into this, I tell guys that has at all. But you know, the more up to 40. By the time I got there, I had gone through so much this year in failure, and getting up to the gate and lining up with people and Iron Man's and doing this and doing that. A lot of those nerves were gone. But, you know, I knew that like, in order for me to be comfortable, I needed to be running, I need to get out there and start competing. Because once I'm doing that you forget about all the bullshit, all those fears. And all the anxiety kind of goes away. And you're like, Okay, I'm cool. But yeah, that's all that stuff makes me uncomfortable. Go into a race meeting new people lining up. All have it, but like, it's been super good for me. And it's made it like, just like I said, it gets easier. But the the work necessarily doesn't work. So is the work.
Brock Briggs 1:12:06
Just to kind of wrap things up. If you we try to ask a couple questions here at the end, what? What advice would you give to somebody that's maybe in or out currently that's maybe struggling with? Maybe alcohol abuse? Maybe pills, maybe whatever it is, what would you say were? What would people want to hear?
Conrad Jeffries 1:12:30
I think there's a lot of things that could be said here, but let me just go back to something that maybe they don't want to hear something that I should have heard is like, I think a lot of times when we're stuck in the grips of alcoholism, or pill abuse or anything, we like to look to the left and look to the right. And I'd like to tell those people to look in the mirror. And just ask yourself, do you like the way your life's gone right now? Are you happy with where you're at. And if you're not, you know, I would consider putting that drink or that tilt down. Because I think most of us when we're doing that to ourselves are self aware of it. At least I was. And I didn't want to be a drunk. And I didn't want to be this or that. But I was just powerless as far as like actually giving it up. And so it took it took a lot of failure. It took handcuffs, it took the bashing of my ego for me to get to open my eyes. And I would tell anyone, don't be me. You know, catch that on before you got legal problems. Catch it before you have all this and give yourself a fighting chance. But until you're willing to look in the mirror, because, you know, I've met a lot of alcoholics, we've all got our story, right. And I've met a lot of drug addicts now about their story. You know, some of us have this or that a lot of people in life get a bad handshake. At the end of the day, no one gives a shit. The only one that's going to keep that drinker drug out of your mouth as you and the stories of what put it there, no one gives a shit anymore. And so unless you're willing to pull that, you know, pull that reality in. You'll struggle with it for a long time. But if you can pull that reality, and the no one gives a shit about your ailments, and you're the one that needs to give a shit about them. And you're the one that can fix them, and stand up and fix them. And you have the abilities like I tell guys this a lot when they're playing poor me on the phone like, fuck, dude, you're a Marine. What How did you feel when you went to boot camp or get graduated that day? Like, who are you now? Like, sometimes we just gotta strap our boots up and go, and that's what we're dealing with. So I tell them that like, you know, you want to quit drinking. You're tired of having a shitty marriage. You're tired of this. You're tired of being broke. Okay, fix it. Look in the mirror and fix it. And that's the advice I would give them. I don't know if they'd want to hear it. Because I don't know the situation. But
Brock Briggs 1:14:53
well, sometimes the hardest pill to swallow is the best one.
Conrad Jeffries 1:14:56
Brock Briggs 1:14:59
Oh, Well with that, where can people go to follow along with what you're doing at shot at dawn?
Conrad Jeffries 1:15:05
Just at Conrad Jeffries on Instagram. Kind of leads to everything else. So, yeah, just CLN ra D je FF ri yes on Instagram.
Brock Briggs 1:15:16
Awesome. And then website shot at dawn project.org. You can follow along there as well. Conrad, thank you so much for coming on the show today. We really appreciate it.
Conrad Jeffries 1:15:25
Thanks, guys. I really appreciate your time and I hope you guys have a blessed day and I learned so that's always good because I gotta go throw some rocks now, where you're learning. Thanks, guys.