The Project Unbreakable Challenge

As I write this post for, I think about some almost inconceivable challenges faced by others. If you recall the movie, “Unbroken,” starring Jack O’Connell you recall that the hero of this true story was a man named Louis “Louie” Zamperini who was held prisoner by the Japanese during World War II. Louie ran in the 1936 Olympic Games at the age of 19. In 1941 he enlisted and was sent to war and was captured after his bomber crashed (1943). During his captivity, it becomes known that he is a gifted runner, which the prison administration soon discovers.

In the movie, Louie exhibits other-worldly strength and endurance against his malevolent and sadistic captor, Mutsuhiro Watanabe (who in real life wound up being listed as one of the most wanted war criminals). There are many scenes during which the captor does what he can to belittle and punish Louie; however, the scene that stood out to me ,pre (and I’m guessing just about everyone else) was Louie’s ability to stand with a heavy beam held above his head for I-don’t-recall-how-many-hours so that he and his fellow prisoners didn’t incur their captor’s wrath.

It is a truly inspirational movie, and the real-life hero lived to run during the Olympic torch run during the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. Louie passed away in 2014 at the age of 97.

Getting back to the present moment, however, the term “unbroken” means a great deal more to me. For example, if I discuss addiction and the challenges it presents, it could be easy to just crumble and give up. But as I consider the hero of the movie “Unbroken,” my challenge suddenly seems like something that I CAN overcome. It does NOT have to break me. Therefore, as I go forward in my life, my goal is not only to be sober and productive and healthy, but also to be an example that addiction neither defines, nor breaks who I am.

I am ok, and so are you. Together, we remain unbroken. We are Project Unbreakable.

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