AA Medallions: How They Help in Recovery And What They Are


The decision to get sober is a defining moment in an addict's life. But staying sober isn't easy. No matter how far into recovery someone is, they face temptation and their demons every day of their lives.

Anything that can help ease this process is a welcome addition during that journey. Keep reading to learn why Alcoholics Anonymous medallions help addicts stay clean and sober.

What is an AA Coin Medallion or Coin?

Alcoholics Anonymous started in 1934 with its founding member, Bill W. Based on a formula of self-improvement from the Oxford Group, the now infamous 12-step program has helped millions of people find their way back to sobriety.

Of course, the program has changed and evolved over the last 80 years. One of the additions is the AA medallion, a token given by members of the addict's AA group as a celebration of continued sobriety. 

The coin is credited to Sister Mary Ignatia of St. Thomas Hospital, a friend of one of the founding members of AA. She gave a Sacred Heart badge to members of the program, asking them to return it if they ever took another drink, and the idea behind today's AA medallion was born.

It's important to note that the medallions are not part of the book, and their use varies between different groups. However, that gives them more meaning for members, as individual styles are expressed.

What Does Each AA Medallion Mean?

Most groups use certain colors of medallion to denote specific milestones. These are generally aluminum coins that have a triangle on one side, referencing the "Unity, Service, Recovery" legacy of the program with a circle and the number milestone inside. Outside the triangle are the words "To Thine Own Self Be True", a reminder for the recipient. On the reverse is a copy of the Serenity Prayer.

The colors for each milestone are:

  • Silver, 24-hours sober
  • Red, 1 month
  • Gold, 2 months
  • Green, 3 months
  • Blue, 6 months
  • Purple, 9 months

Why Are Alcoholics Anonymous Medallions Meaningful?

Alcoholics Anonymous medallions are meaningful for a variety of reasons.

1. They mark milestones in the recovery journey. Starting with the day one medallion, they help celebrate each big milestone of time passed since becoming sober.

2. They pull new members into the group. First-timers to a meeting are alone and scared, looking for a support system to hold onto. Old members, remembering their own first meeting, can bring new members into the fold with the first 24-hour coin. 

3. They are reminders that inspire continued sobriety. Carried around in a pocket or purse, AA medallions are daily reminders of how far an addict has come and why they continue to stay sober. During tough moments, connecting with a physical reminder can help the person walk away from temptation and into a meeting.

4. They are a source of pride in a hard journey. Sobriety is hard, and every day of continued sobriety is cause for celebration. AA medallions are a physical token, like an award certificate or trophy, that they can take pride in.

Finding Your Own AA Medallion

There are so many styles of coin to choose from. If you're looking for Alcoholics Anonymous medallions, check out The Token Shop to see what we have available!