Former Taekwondo champion Simon Fenech was shot by a killer and stabbed in the neck with a knife, but his determination to quit drugs began after he was in prison. Now Fenech is helping others start their lives again.

According to the Herald Sun, everyone who quit drug addiction needs strong willpower. For the former Taekwondo champion Fenech, many of the major blows he experienced failed to get him out of drug addiction. He was shot by a gang killer and stabbed in the neck with a 12-inch kitchen knife. He moved to a dirty apartment after the breakdown of his marriage, his hundreds of thousands of Australian dollars in compensation checks were "burned", the police had raided his auto parts factory, and he spent A$1000 a day on drugs. Even when he wrote the last letter to his brother and children before attempting to commit suicide, he didn't think about taking drugs.

The real opportunity for him to start detoxification began with Fenech's thinking after being imprisoned.

From addict to saving others, former Taekwondo champion has lost his way

Fenech said: "When I went to jail, I was kept in a cell for 22 hours a day. I stayed away from drugs and had a lot of time to think about who I was. I need to clear my mind. I want to become the one before drug addiction That man. Before I went to jail, I was not a born villain, drug addict, criminal. I just got lost."

Fenech is about to turn 46 years old. He once lived the life that an Australian dreamed of. He had a beautiful five-bedroom house in the West End, a wife he admired, and a young and growing family. He had an amateur taekwondo career.

A work injury caused him to fracture his back. Due to the pain and movement, he had to take strong painkillers and antidepressants. A year later, he was almost a waste. Once, a companion brought him a small bag of methamphetamine, and his pain disappeared for the first time in the past year. Fenech described his path to drug addiction in his new book "Breaking Good".

He said: "Metham attacks every drug addict, no matter who it is. From the first drug use, it begins to take root. If I had known that drug addiction was so powerful, then I would never try to take drugs. Knowing the stubbornness of drug addiction, as long as you get methamphetamine, it immediately makes you addicted." Since then, he has started to use the money from selling drugs for his own drug use.

Although he was accused of going to court many times, he was sentenced to rehabilitate in the community many times until he was later sentenced to one year in prison. He was detained at the Melbourne Detention Centre and then in the Fulham Correctional Centre in Gippsland for six months.

He said: "What the prisoners talk about is rubbish, which makes people crazy. I should probably go to jail earlier. In that case, my crime may be lighter, maybe it's driving without a license or drugs."

Fenech said: "What I really need is mandatory rehabilitation. I think this is what I need. To be honest, this is what I really want."

Fenech said that although he was determined to change his life, he returned to his previous life easily after he was released from prison. He said: "After the end of his sentence, he was released back to the place where he had committed crimes and drug abuse. This almost threw people directly back into the abyss of crime again."

He paid the rent at a boarding house, but it was “more like a poison nest than a place to return to normal life”. He only has 60 Australian dollars a week to pay for food and transportation.

He said: "You cannot rely on welfare. Most people I know in prison want to change. But when they come out, they do encounter difficulties. Finding a job is the biggest challenge."

Later, Fenech got help from Fruit2Work, a community enterprise that delivers fruit and dairy products to workplaces. Since 2017, this company has been committed to helping people released after serving their sentences. Victoria’s recidivism rate has almost reached 44%, mainly due to the dual obstacles of homelessness and unemployment.

Fenech said: "Without a job, you can't shelter yourself from the wind and rain. The job opportunities Fruit2Work offers to prisoners are very meaningful."

From packing fruit boxes at 2 in the morning to later driving a delivery truck, Fenech is now an operations manager, helping others start their lives like him.

Fenech said: "From the time they were released from prison, to when they received the first paycheck, and then to get their children back to their lives, these are all things I have experienced. Looking at them happy I go home, drive my registered car, and buy daily necessities for my family. I feel that they are once again a member of the community."

During the three years of operation of Fruit2Work, no employees went to jail again, and this company became one of the most successful companies in the world to help people who have finished their sentences.

Although the ban on feet during the epidemic has reduced the delivery business by two-thirds, the team is still trying to provide bulk vegetables to many kitchens and food packages to people in difficult circumstances. During the two weeks when the Flemington and North Melbourne public apartment buildings were strictly isolated, they provided 3000 meals every night.

Fenech often speaks in prison, sharing his stories, hoping that he can inspire others. He said that his greatest joy is to watch people make positive changes to their lives, like now "my life is gold", "have a good boss, a beautiful partner, or have a family again, let my children renew Back to my life. (With these), what else would you ask for?"

Editor in charge: Li Xinran