What is Progressive Victory anyway?

Q: “How’d you do it?

A: “Progressive victory over lust. It’s really that simple.”

This was the exchange last week at the end of an SA meeting. It was the meeting that I received my One Week chip. Another fellow in the program received his 4-year chip. It is tradition in AA and it’s affiliates to ask someone “how they did it” if they are awarded a chip representing any multiple of years. I really enjoy hearing the responses and often will write them down in my notebook.

Lately I have been pondering this concept of progressive victory over the disease. What does that look like? I sure feel like there are days where I do not experience this victory. Many days I feel like I am just surviving. Many days I feel like the disease is having victory over me!

But when I take a look back I can see it. When I look back just one year ago I can see the progression. I can see the growth, maturity, humility and I can see the serenity. It is slow and gradual but it is real.

Yesterday I was paid a compliment by an administrator at my school. Given the circumstances, it might have been the highest compliment in quite some time. He was going on and on about how impressed he was with the improvement of the girls basketball team I currently help coach. The other coach and myself are aware of this improvement but it came at a bit of a surprise for someone in the stands to notice. We are still getting beat by a large margin and still lack a lot of skill on the court. We turn the ball over about once every four times down the court. We have only scored above 20 points a whopping three times and we have won only one game so far.

But we are progressing. Very slowly mind you – but it is happening. When I think back to the first few games and compare those to the current state of our team the difference is pretty significant actually. It’s important for me as a coach to look back and remember those games so that I am assured that we are heading in the right direction.

So too with my recovery.

This morning I read these words in the Daily Reflection:

We will not regret the past, nor will we shut the door on it.” AA Big Book pg. 83

Looking back may stir up emotions such as guilt and sadness but I should never shut the door on it just because it’s painful. The past can be my greatest ally sometimes. It reminds me of the life that once was and the places I never want to be again. It allows me to gauge my progress and celebrate the victories along the way.

In the locker room last night after another loss we (coaches) heaped praise on our team. We praised them for how far they have come. We encouraged them to not give up because we are definitely seeing results. We told them how proud we are of them.

After walking out of the locker room I smiled at the thought of telling a team how very proud I was of them after getting beat by over 20 points! That right there is evidence of recovery in my life. My recovery journey is impacting all aspects of my life that used to be tainted by my disease.

That must be what progressive victory looks like.




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