Where Did AA Chips Come From?

Where Did AA Chips Come From?

Have you ever heard of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)? This group extends across the world and can be found in approximately 180 nations. Since its inauguration in 1935, AA has helped millions of people recover from alcohol addiction, stay sober, and change their lives.

One of the defining factors that makes AA what it is today is the AA chip. AA chips help members keep track of their progress and hold themselves accountable. These “sobriety tokens” provide gratification and positive reinforcement to people in recovery. 

For more on the origin of AA chips and how they can help, read on for our brief history guide.

1. Background on Sobriety Chips

You may be wondering, “Where did AA chips come from?” While AA tokens are the most common form of sobriety chip, these coins have a deep cultural history. Sobriety chips provide a source of comfort, healing, and even feelings of luck for some.

These types of trinkets and charms show up in nearly every culture throughout time. 

From healing crystals to lucky clovers, people have long looked to tangible items to symbolize something deeper. Many people look to sobriety chips in the same way. While AA tokens don’t serve as a reward for membership, they do serve as a reminder of milestones and achievement. 

This form of positive reinforcement can often help increase the chance of repeating a certain behavior. 

2. AA’s History With Tokens

While there is no specific token claimed by the AA, individuals and local groups have adopted their own form of sobriety chip. Because all AA groups are self-ruling, there are a wide variety of unique-looking chips around the world. To see some common examples, click here to check out these AA chips

Sobriety chips were first officially addressed by the AA at the General Service Conference of 1958. But, many believe that its origin traces back much further.

A religious Sister known as Sister Mary Ignatia worked with Dr. Bob Smith in 1939 to admit alcoholics into treatment. Sister Ignatia would also give many patients a Sacred Heart Medallion upon their release from the hospital. This system served as a reminder of their strength and progress. 

Many still refer to Sister Ignatia as the angel of Alcoholics Anonymous. 

Another account notes Doherty S. as one of the pioneers who brought the AA chip system to Indianapolis in 1942. You may also hear some referring to a group out of Elmira, New York as starting the sobriety chip tradition around 1947. 

No matter where the AA coins started first, there’s no doubt that they have helped millions of people in recovery for decades. 

3. AA Chips and Their Meaning

Depending on the specific group, some AA chip meanings may differ. Typically, the first silver chip is given after a sobriety period of twenty-four hours. The next is given after one month of sobriety and is usually red in color.

Some other common milestone markers are a dark blue chip for six months of sobriety and a bronze chip for each year. 

If you or a loved one is looking to join a sobriety group and receive their own chips, consider reaching out to a sobriety specialist near you today. 

Appreciating the Sobriety Chip System

It can take years of dedication, focus, and drive to receive AA chips for sobriety. But, they are some of the most rewarding, personal, and valuable tokens for millions across the world. 

For more interesting lifestyle articles, be sure to check out the rest of our website.  

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