What’s An AA “Chip” Or Medallion And What’s It For?

What’s An AA “Chip” Or Medallion And What’s It For?

AA sobriety chips, sometimes called tokens or medallions, are given at 12-Step meetings to its individual members as they acknowledge and celebrate specific lengths of sobriety. Family and friends of the alcoholic, fellow meeting-goers, and other AA members also like to give sobriety tokens as gifts. Traditionally, tokens given out at meetings to acknowledge early sobriety are brightly-colored aluminum, the size of a poker chip, marked with numbers denoting days or months or years of abstinence. There are “24 hour” welcome chips, and 30-, 60- and 90-day chips, all in bright colors. Aluminum chips denoting the number of months, one through twelve, are also awarded to members by many meetings.

Acknowledging longer terms of sobriety is traditionally marked by a brass coin or token. On one side, these brass coins are encircled with the words, “To Thin Own Self Be True;” inside is the AA triangle/circle marked with a specific year number in Roman numerals in its center, to identify the number of years. These brass sobriety medallions are often given out at AA meetings, and the receiver is thus acknowledged as a member who has achieved another important milestone, another year of continuous sobriety or abstinence. A great celebration and hearty applause are often a part of the “chip giving” portion of a meeting.

AA chips serve as a marker, a way to acknowledge maintenance of sobriety or abstinence for particular lengths of time. Members of Alcoholics Anonymous and of other 12-Step meetings like Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous often carry their ‘chips’ on a key chain or tuck it away in a wallet. Others use them as book markers or keep them in a special place in their homes. AA Chips serve as silent testament to a remarkable spiritual achievement. The sobriety coins or medallions represent the strong commitment to recovery, and as such, they come to represent much more than words alone can say. The brightly colored aluminum tokens given to sober alcoholics at meetings are recognized as the visible reminders of an ongoing recovery from alcoholism.

What’s An NA Cleantime Chip?

Many NA meetings give out chips or tokens to acknowledge membership and subsequent lengths of abstinence from drugs. Also, NA chips can be purchased by individual NA members and their relatives and friends to commemorate membership in NA and particular lengths of time being abstinent. The Latest Thing offers a specialized collection of “Cleantime Chips.” The NA Cleantime Chips developed by The Latest Thing use only authentic NA chips. These chips are uniquely enhanced to create a specialized line of gold, nickel, bi-plated and crystallized NA medallions, with their own special touch of magic.


What’s The History Of Giving A Chip?

The practice of giving out sobriety tokens pre-dates AA itself. One Catholic nun named Sister Ignatia, who worked with AA co-founder Dr. Bob in the late 1930’s to develop the first hospital program for alcoholics in Akron, Ohio, gave out Sacred Heart medallions to each patient as he left the hospital. Each man had to promise to return the medallion to her before they took another drink. She also offered the men St. Christopher medals, who, as the Catholic Patron Saint of travelers was said to watch over the lost. This symbolic award of a “sobriety reminder” became a recognized ritual that those who stayed sober came to appreciate. In AA itself, mention in a 1942 letter to Bill W.’s secretary is made to the practice of giving out ‘poker-sized chips’ as reminders that the bearer wanted to maintain abstinence. This early documented reference to giving out AA tokens makes it clear that the practice grew up with AA itself. From then until the present, an AA chip or medallion is cherished as a substantive reminder of an extraordinary spiritual achievement, the gift of sobriety.

Which Chip Makes A Good Gift?

The Latest Thing, Inc. (Gift of Recovery) has been in business for over thirty years. In that time our offerings of specialized medallions, tokens and sobriety chips have literally grown right alongside the growth of AA itself. The brightly colored, aluminum chips and the brass medallions awarded to members at meetings signify an ongoing commitment to working a program of sobriety and attending meetings. However, many people have also wanted to give or to receive and collect Medallions privately, one-to-one. Indeed, a cottage industry has grown up around the design of special anniversary or “birthday” tokens given to acknowledge a milestone anniversary of a friend or relative. Of course, plenty of sober or abstinent folks purchase a favorite medallion for themselves, as well.

Triplate Chips were an interesting challenge when they were in development. The unique needs of how the enamel and epoxy on the Triplates brings it all together required us to comlettely re-invent the way coins were made. You’ll find the glitter and glitz of gold and silver Triplate Glitter Chips, which also come in purple, pink, and aqua. These appeal to those who love the glow and glitter of gold. Do the Zebra and leopard pattern chips appeal to the wild-at-heart, perhaps? For those who resonate with the sophisticated, quiet appeal of gold on gold, or diamond crystals set around the outside of a medallion, check out the Gold, Nickel and Bi-Plate Sobriety Chips. The Bill & Bob imprint, of course, is very special indeed.

Which ever chip or medallion or sobriety gift you select for yourself or a friend, loved one, sponsor or sponsee, trust that you’ll find one that strikes you as an appropriate token for someone who has continued to “trudge the road of Happy Destiny” and celebrates their freedom from addiction.

Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers: A biography, with recollections of early A.A. in the Midwest. 1980. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. New York, NY, 1980. Book.
How Do I Get an AA Chip?” Find Recovery. Last modified July, 2021. Findrecovery.com. Web. Accessed August 6, 2021.
Origin of AA Coins, Chips, Tokens or Medallions, FAQ.” The Anonymous Press. Anonpress.org. Web. Accessed August 6, 2021.
Sobriety Coin.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wiki.com. Accessed August 6, 2021.
Living Clean: The Journey Continues. World Service Conference, 2012.
Narcotics Anonymous,” Wikipedia. Accesses 9/3/2021.
Narcotics Anonymous, 6th edition, World Service Conference, 2008.

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