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Understanding the AA Milestone Tokens The chip system is not officially a component of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) but it is still widely used in the country, and all over the world for that matter, as a way of paying tribute to significant milestones in recovery. There are AA milestone tokens that expressly identify and stand for the various periods of abstinence from alcohol. Normally as big as a poker chip, these special medallions are oftentimes handed out by the home group, spiritual guides, close friends or family members of those in recovery. It is meant to commemorate the achievement and to inspire the receiver to persevere on his or her commitment to personal recovery. Many say that the chip system originated from Indianapolis in 1942 but its exact beginning is practically impossible to determine. It comes from the story of the start of Alcoholics Anonymous in Indianapolis in the early 1940’s by Doherty S. Writing to Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill W., Doherty made reference to the practice of handing out “tokens” and “chips.” The AA milestone token has become the mark of anonymous membership of a lot of people all over the world. Although it is irrelevant to many, the keepsake is a very valuable to the receiver. He or she can receive first the silver colored aluminum 24 Hour Token to mark the first day of sobriety in the fellowship of anonymous peers. This twenty-four hour token can be kept by the beneficiary for a lifetime to serve as silent reminder of his or her AA way of life.
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After the 24 Hour Token comes a series of anodized aluminum tokens that commemorate monthly achievements in rehabilitation. A red anodized aluminum chip is given after one month of sobriety. For two months of abstinence, a gold anodized aluminum medallion is given. After three months of staying sober, an emerald green anodized coin is given. Six months of abstaining is extolled with a dark blue aluminum token. When the soberness reached nine months, the last aluminum token which is a purple aluminum chip is given.
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After a year of unbroken sobriety, the AA member can receive a Bronze Yearly AA Token during the anniversary celebration. The token comes in medallion form and is often referred to as “heavy metal” because of its weight and the symbolism of reaching one’s birthday in Alcoholics Anonymous. The celebrant’s sponsor normally hands over the yearly bronze token along with a cake and a dedication. Then there is the Brilliant Triplate Medallion for the most momentous sobriety anniversaries. As befits such occasions, the Triplate AA Token is the most fanciful and most expensive in terms of design and cost. Regardless of the period of sobriety designated by a specific AA token, each one represents the significance of that accomplishment to a recovering alcoholic wherein each day of abstinence is worthy of praise and thanksgiving.