When I started writing again, my main goal was to write about the truth (or the search for it at least), and speak to real and interesting people. We have so much fiction rammed down our throats that we sometimes can forget real life - there is so many interesting people with amazing stories to hear. I would say that the person I spoke to recently proved this point very well, to say the least!
Chris Thrall, some would say, has “been through the mill”. From joining the Marines at the age of 18, to working for the 14k Triads in Hong Kong whilst battling with PTSD and addiction; this is one life story that proves there can be a light at the end of the tunnel for anyone willing to find it. Now a successful and published author, speaker and genuinely lovely dude, he was kind enough to answer a few questions and let you know a little about his work.
Now where do we start with somebody who has had such a turbulent life as yours?! I guess somewhere at the beginning would work.
- For the people who haven't heard of you, could you please give us a little back ground information? Where did you grow up? What sort of youngster was Chris Thrall? Did you have a happy upbringing? Were you in trouble much when you were young?
“I was born in South East London and spent most of my youth in South West England. I would probably say that I was an introverted young man who would have come across as an extrovert whilst trying to gain attention that I wasn’t getting at home. My home life was pretty turbulent, and as such I learnt to internalise my feelings and emotions.
I was in trouble a lot more when I was older (hah!). I wasn’t a bad kid - just the usual stuff really. But when you have never known peace in your heart because your infancy is so turbulent, you’re going to experiment in later life to try and find happiness. Often that experimentation is through substance use and abuse, or through getting yourself into trouble. Getting those little adrenalin rushes that temporarily make you feel that life is quite good.”
- Now this bit did make me chuckle, I must admit. You were 18 when you joined the Marines, and not only that, you joined for a bet?! What did you think when you actually got through? Is there anything from that experience that you regret?
“As I came from a broken background with not a huge amount of support from my parents, I was incredibly proud of myself when I actually got through. It’s very difficult to get into the Marines - I had to do a 3 day fitness and endurance test.
I cant say I have any regrets in life; it doesn’t help you to have regrets. It ruins your future by holding onto past regrets. That is not to say that I wouldn’t do things differently if we could have our time again, perhaps.”
- I heard on one of your interviews that you once, whilst serving in the Marines, had a bullet just miss your face and hit your colleague (George) behind you. What went through your head when you realised what had happened?
“We were in Northern Ireland for the 20th anniversary of having troops in the province. The IRA were out to kill as many troops as possible; we lost one of our brothers in the 2nd week - shot dead.
George did get shot 3 times, but luckily he survived. When that happened I thought, “Wow - this is exciting. This is what I signed up for!”. Obviously I didn’t want anybody to get hurt though.”
- Even though you had a bullet narrowly miss your face, you’ve said that your scariest moment was when you got kidnapped in South America. Could you tell us what happened, and why this particular situation rates as your scariest moment?
“I wasn’t kidnapped in the traditional sense, like for a ransom - more like taken hostage for the evening. I was in Cayenne, which is the capital of French Guyana. I had come out of a Vietnamese restaurant drunk, and I had tried to buy some weed off some guys. They said, ‘Yeah, hop in the car and we’ll take you.’.
They took me out of town to some type of ghetto, and in the same process as getting the Weed, they also got me some Cocaine. Then from out of nowhere they started panicking and getting paranoid; maybe because they’d just picked up a foreigner and thought I was a copper. They got me back out the car and one of the guys produced a large, rusty sheath. I had it held to my face and they were demanding to know who I was.
I managed to pacify them a bit and we got back in the car. I thought everything was good again, and one of the guys pulled out the knife again and held it to my throat. He was demanding that I gave them my camera so I grabbed his hair, pulled out my flick knife and told him they weren’t having it. I don’t recommend anybody tries that but it’s just the way I was when I was younger!
We got out the car and he was trying to stab me. I managed to keep out his way and eventually they got bored, got in the car and left me in a pitch black jungle in the middle of the night.”
- So, then you arrived in Hong Kong with a thriving business to run. What happened to change things from that to working for the Triads?
“I started a marketing business while I was in the Marines, which was turning over $100000 a month. When I finished in the Marines, I had planned to go out to Hong Kong to run the business because that is where the network was far more profitable. By the time I had done my 18 month notice in the Marines the people who were supplying me had gone bankrupt, and I had this big network marketing thing with nothing to sell on it.
I took a series of jobs, and also got increasingly addicted to crystal meth. I finally began to phase in and out of crystal meth psychosis, and as a very last resort I took a job working for the 14k Triads as a nightclub doorman in the Wan Chi red light district.”
- Would you say that it was PTSD that led you to addiction? Could you please tell us a bit about this stage of your life, and what brought you out the otherside?
“Yes, trauma is one of the main drivers for addiction - some would argue it is THE main driver. Childhood trauma is a precursor to addiction. Occasionally you do meet somebody who is addicted that says they had a great childhood, but reality says that in your head you don’t know what the perfect childhood is. My PTSD initially came from my childhood, although I’ve never had it officially diagnose by a doctor.
I saw this stage of my life as a period of learning and growth. It might not have seemed that way at the time though, as I thought I had lost everything. I spent around two and a half years in that challenging spiral, and then one day saw the light. I was back in the UK, high after injecting Speed, and my house in the was absolutely trashed. I thought I couldn’t go any lower without dying, but I also cant continue like this… something had to change. I was incredibly grateful for that moment of enlightenment because it enabled me to continue my journey of growth to the paradise that I am now living.”
- Please tell us about the things you are doing to raise awareness for veteran suicide. As someone who has served in the force, do you agree with the wars that are still going on today?
“Yes, I ran the length of the UK - 999 miles, and pretty much non stop except sleeping at the side of the road. I ran an ultra marathon everyday for 37 days whilst carrying all my camping equipment, and managed to raise £18000 for The Baton Charity. The message was to bring attention to the suicide epidemic amongst veterans. Also for my 50th birthday I did a quadruple iron man distance triathlon, with only 8 weeks training. That’s a 9 mile swim, 450 mile bike ride and an 108 mile run - also non stop, except sleep otherwise I would have cycled in front of a truck or something.
As much as it is important to raise awareness of this epidemic in veteran suicide and the needs of veterans, it’s equally if not more important to raise awareness of these sham wars that we keep being entered into. They’re sending our young men and women off to massacre other, what I would call, kids in other countries. I mean in the military you can be 18 years old; you’re basically, I know you’re classed as a man, but are you really? I’d say I was a child when I was 18; I was probably a child until I was about 40. Now, I’m maybe about an adolescent (hah). So yeah, we’re sending our kids to kill other kids and how possibly can that be a good thing? They’re coming back with their legs blown off, losing their eyes or in a body bag. And whats it for? It’s to make the sociopathic, power greedy, ultra rich banking families and the like even more powerful than they already are.
So, no I don’t agree with any wars at all, and this is also something that we need to raise awareness of.”
- Now you are a changed man, and successful author with a popular YouTube channel interviewing the likes of Robbie Williams. Could you please tell us a little about your books, and what sort of content we can find on your channel?
“I’ve written two memoirs - one called Eating Smoke, which is about my descent into crystal meth psychosis in Hong Kongs Triad heartland. The other is called 40 Nights which is about my kind of, what people call recovery. That one is also like my spiritual emergence. Both books are very funny, and I would highly recommend that anyone read them if they want just to get an idea of life - certainly if they want to understand addiction and how fragile our mental health can be.
The content on my YouTube channel is called Bought the T-shirt because I sit down and chat with people who have bought the t-shirt. Basically, I sit down and speak with my heros and the interesting people of the world.
Yes I did speak to Robbie. I think the more I go on, the more people approach me to come on the show because I think people are quite impressed with it. Also I think they like that I don’t have any agenda, I’m not out to humiliate anybody, I’m not out to make people out to be stupid and I genuinely like to chat. Hopefully through that chat we can get a message of love, understanding and gratitude out of it. Then that in its turn will help and inspire our young people to see life for what it really is; not what these sociopaths want us to believe.”
- Do you have any messages for anybody reading this who may suffer from PTSD, addiction or anything that you have experienced?
“Yeah, remember that if you are suffering it is only temporary. If you’re suffering it just means that you haven’t worked out the answers yet in order to live in paradise. Paradise is always there whether you like it or not. Paradise, which is a place in your head, is available to anybody - it doesn’t matter how big or small you are, your colour, your background, your bank balance… all of that is irrelevant. Paradise is available for everybody, but it is something that you have to want, and if you want something bad enough you will find the answers on how to get it. So I would say to anybody struggling, remember that you are loved unconditionally by so many people. People like me - we know that you are all beautiful human beings. You need to start loving yourself, forgiving yourself and forgiving other people. That way you will be heading towards the light at the end of the tunnel. On a practical level, I would say reach out to some of the professional organisations. That’s what they do - they help people to recover their lives, become happier and go on like myself to lead productive and happy experiences.”
So there we have it - a true story with the action, drama and even the happy ending (no pun intended). Chris Thrall has been an absolute gentleman and I look forward to finding out more about his stories in the future. You can find out more about his books and other work at www.christhrall.com, and all the usual socials.
What stories do you have? Have you experienced any of the things mentioned in this article? We are not here to judge - please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org