What Are AA Chips?

AA chips are a tangible reminder of your commitment to sobriety.

Sometimes, you just need a reminder of how far you’ve come. If you or a loved one is in the process of getting sober or in recovery, AA sobriety chips may be a helpful tool to help you stay motivated during this time in your life.

What Are AA Chips?

AA chips are small, round tokens that are given to people in recovery. They signify how long a person has been sober and serve as a physical reminder to take one day at a time. Although AA sobriety chips are not a mandatory part of the 12-Step Program, it’s a common practice to use them and it’s a part of AA culture. Many AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) fellowships use sobriety chips to celebrate milestones. Often, people keep them in a purse or pocket to remind themselves of the importance of their sobriety. They are a visible and tangible reminder of how far they’ve come.

What Is the History of AA Sobriety Chips?

According to Bigbooksponsorship.org, early in the history of the 12-Step Program, there is evidence that many people in AA carried momentos to remind themselves of their commitment to a sober lifestyle.1 The practice of giving sobriety chips in AA is thought to have started with an AA group in Indianapolis in 1942. Other AA groups soon followed suit. 

Sister Mary Ignatia, a nun who worked alongside Dr. Bob to organize a hospitalization program at St. Thomas in Akron, is credited as being the first person to use medallions in Alcoholics Anonymous, starting in 1939. After alcoholics had detoxed at the St. Thomas hospitalization program, Sister Ignatia would give each one of them a sacred heart medallion and tell them that their acceptance of the medallion signified a commitment to God, AA, and recovery. She would also tell them that if they decided to drink, they were responsible for returning the medallion to her before consuming any alcohol. 

What Does a Sobriety Coin Look Like?

AA sobriety coins are small, round tokens. They come in a variety of different colors, which each signify different milestones in sobriety. AA sobriety chips are also made with a variety of materials, including aluminum and brass, sometimes also with gold or silver plating. Some may even have crystals.

How Does the AA Chip System Work?

If you’re new to sobriety, you might be wondering, “How do sobriety chips work?” 

The present-day practice of giving AA sobriety chips is used to celebrate successful sobriety milestones. The use of AA sobriety chips varies from group to group, but many 12-Step fellowships offer chip nights or medallion nights to honor the individuals who are receiving a token. Other fellowship groups give them out during AA meetings.

Many AA groups also offer new members a 24-hour medallion. The 24-hour medallion signifies the fact that the decision to live life sober is a daily decision that is made one day at a time. Although each group operates differently, sobriety chips are usually given to members at several different points during their first year of sobriety, including one month, three months, six months, nine months, and one year. However, many other sobriety milestones may be celebrated with AA chips like 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, etc.

Collecting the coins is intended to make 12-Step members feel supported, loved, and motivated. It’s also a significant reminder that you’re not fighting the fight alone. You have support. However, since all AA groups are autonomous the customs for celebrating sobriety milestones vary depending on the local group.

What Do AA Chip Colors Mean?

There are many different alcoholics anonymous chip colors that each signify a different milestone. Here are the colors of the AA chips in order:

  • White chip: to start or renew a commitment to sobriety
  • Silver Chip: 24 hours of sobriety
  • Red Chip: 30 days of sobriety
  • Gold Chip: 60 days of sobriety
  • Green Chip: 90 days of sobriety
  • Purple Chip: 4 months of sobriety
  • Pink Chip: 5 months of sobriety
  • Dark Blue Chip: 6 months of sobriety
  • Copper Chip: 7 months of sobriety
  • Red Chip: 8 months of sobriety
  • Purple Chip: 9 months of sobriety
  • Gold Chip: 10 months of sobriety
  • Green Chip: 11 months of sobriety
  • Bronze Chip: 1 year of sobriety

NA groups may also use key tags to signify sobriety milestones. The NA key tag colors are:

  • White key tag: to begin or restart the program
  • Orange key tag: 30 days
  • Green key tag: 60 days
  • Red key tag: 90 days
  • Blue key tag: 6 months
  • Yellow key tag: 9 months
  • Glow in the dark key tag: 1 year
  • Gray key tag: 18 months
  • Black key tag: 2 or more years

How Do You Get Sobriety Chips?

People in recovery can get sobriety chips in a few different ways. Many people get AA sobriety chips at recovery meetings or upon the completion of a treatment program. If you are a part of an AA group that doesn’t give out sobriety chips but you’d like to be a part of that tradition, you may switch to a different AA group that hands them out. 

What to Do With AA Chips

If you receive an AA chip, you aren’t required to do anything specific with it. Its primary purpose is to serve as a tangible reminder of your daily decision to pursue sobriety. However, many people choose to keep their AA chips in an easily accessible location, like a pocket or purse. Others may keep them in a special keepsake box. However, you can do anything you want with an AA chip after you receive it.

Need Help to Say Sober? A Eudaimonia Sober Living Home Can Help

Getting a sobriety token for achieving sobriety milestones can be extremely motivating and encouraging if you’re new to sobriety, but if you’re struggling to stay sober, enrolling in a sober living program or intensive outpatient program (IOP) may provide the support you need to stay sober.

Eudaimonia Recovery Homes offers sober and structured housing for men and women in recovery. With sober living homes in Austin, Houston, and Colorado Springs, our recovery support programming is individualized to meet the specific needs of each client. 

Eudaimonia also provides certified peer recovery programs that offer additional regular one-on-one and family support to help clients sustain long-term recovery. Additionally, with recovery support services like accountability meetings, employment and educational assistance, and regular drug testing, we help individuals adjust to a sober lifestyle after treatment.

If you need outpatient treatment or ongoing support to stay sober, call Eudaimonia Recovery Homes today.


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