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What’s Up with 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. These special medallions, which are normally the size of a poker chip, are frequently handed out by the sponsors, home group, close friends and family members of a recovering alcoholic. The objective is both to laud the achievement and to encourage the beneficiary to continue his or her journey to personal recovery. While the common version is that the chip system started in Indianapolis in 1942, its exact origin is more or less impossible to pinpoint. It comes from the story of the start of Alcoholics Anonymous in Indianapolis in the early 1940’s by Doherty S. He wrote a letter to Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill W. about giving out “tokens” and “chips.” The AA milestone token stands for the anonymous membership of lots of people around the world. While of no consequence to others, the token is a very meaningful memento to the recipient. The road to recovery with the help of the fellowship of anonymous peers can be marked with a silver colored aluminum 24 Hour Token that stands for a whole day of sobriety. The beneficiary can continue carrying the twenty-four hour token for a lifetime as a voiceless 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 month of sobriety is marked by a red anodized aluminum chip. An abstinence of two months is celebrated with a gold anodized aluminum medallion. Three months of staying sober is marked by an emerald green anodized coin. Abstaining for six months is observed 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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When an AA member finishes one year of continued sobriety, the anniversary celebration is marked with a Bronze Yearly AA Token. 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 annual bronze token is commonly presented by the sponsor who also gives a cake and a short speech about the recipient. For sobriety anniversaries of utmost importance, the Brilliant Triplate Medallion is usually awarded. As befits such occasions, the Triplate AA Token is the most fanciful and most expensive in terms of design and cost. Each AA token carries with it hope for a complete recovery.