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What’s Up with AA Milestone Tokens? Although the chip system is not officially a component of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in any way, it is still used everywhere in the country, and all over the world for that matter, to celebrate specific 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 has two objectives which are to commemorate the accomplishment and to strengthen the recipient’s commitment to his or her personal recovery. Many say that the chip system originated from Indianapolis in 1942 but its exact beginning is practically impossible to determine. The story is that Alcoholics Anonymous was introduced to 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 becomes the symbol of membership of so many anonymous people around 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. 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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From the 24 Hour Token, a series of anodized aluminum tokens follows representing monthly accomplishments in recovery. 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. Six months of abstaining is extolled with a dark blue aluminum token. Nine months of soberness is remembered with a purple aluminum chip which is customarily the last token made of aluminum.
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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 the form of a medallion and is often termed “heavy metal” to refer to its weight and its significance as one reaches his or her birthday in Alcoholics Anonymous. It is the sponsor who usually hands over the yearly bronze tokens along with a cake and a short speech about the celebrant. For sobriety anniversaries of utmost importance, the Brilliant Triplate Medallion is usually awarded. In terms of cost and design, the Triplate AA Token is the most expensive and fanciful. 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.