What Are AA Tokens, Anyway?

Alcoholics Anonymous began in 1939. Today, there are over 2 million successfully recovering members of Alcoholics Anonymous in more than 180 countries.

You might have heard of the 12 steps of AA, but have you heard about AA tokens?

Read on to learn what these are, how they are earned and their significance. 

What Are AA Tokens?

AA tokens are small medallions that recovering addicts earn by on their recovery journey.

The tokens are about the size of poker chips, come in various colors and state how long a person has been sober. Many recovering alcoholics carry their coins in their pocket to have them handy.

The tokens come in a range of materials such as aluminum and bronze.

Each color represents a different milestone during the first year of sobriety. Then there are chips for additional years sober.

The colors used during the first year of sobriety are the following:

  • Silver - 24-hour token. Awarded after one day sober
  • Red - 1 month
  • Gold - 2 months
  • Green - 3 months
  • Blue - 6 months
  • Purple - 9 months
  • Bronze - 1 year

On your sobriety anniversary, you will earn a bronze token. 

Many AA tokens have the AA legacies, "Unity, Service, Recovery" on one side.

You can earn AA tokens at your AA meetings, from your sponsor or even from family and friends who admire your progress.

The History of AA Tokens 

AA tokens can be found around the world to commemorate the milestones of recovery. But, pinpointing the origins of AA tokens is difficult.

A popular belief is that the tokens began in 1942 in Indianapolis. Doherty S. who brought AA to the state in the 1940s mentions giving out tokens in a letter. 

How the AA Tokens Help Recovering Alcoholics

AA tokens are more than just a way to celebrate the milestones of sobriety. The value of the tokens is in the symbolism of the tokens.

Each token is hard-won. The recipients of tokens feel a deep sense of pride and commitment as they look at and hold their tokens.

When the temptation to drink comes up, a touch of a token or holding it in one's palm can help get the recovering individual through that difficult moment and continue on in abstinence.

There's even a joke that if you feel the desire to drink, you should put the token in your mouth. Once it dissolves, you can then take the drink.

Some people keep their tokens in a bowl on their coffee table or some other visible place around the house. Others prefer to make their tokens into necklaces or keep them in their pockets or purses at all times.

No matter where you keep your AA tokens, the meaning and value of them remain the same. You've changed your life for the better - why not show that off!

Final Word

Thanks for reading. As you can see, AA tokens are a meaningful and cherished tradition within Alcoholics Anonymous. 

Before you go, check out our selection of AA jewelry such as rings, bracelets, and necklaces.