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What Is an Alcoholics Anonymous Coin?

Updated on November 3, 2014

The What & Why

Since February 1999, I have regularly been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. For many years, I was a daily heavy drinker but I haven't had a drink since February 3, 1999.

During those 15 years, I have received many Alcoholics Anonymous coins. In the program of AA, special commemorative coins are often given to program members when they reach specific sobriety anniversary dates. These coins are sometimes referred to as medallions or chips by members of the program.

Only At Some Meetings

The sobriety anniversary coins are not distributed at all AA meetings. Members of specific AA meeting groups usually vote on whether or not they want to hand out coins at meetings.

A Tangible Means Of Recognition

The anniversary coins given out at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings provide a tangible means of recognition to program members who have put forth the effort required to reach various sobriety milestones.

Longtime members of AA sometimes say that possessing AA anniversary coins helps to keep the recovering alcoholic in touch with the program when they cannot make it to a meeting.

Carry Those Coins

It is common for members of Alcoholics Anonymous to carry their anniversary coins with them wherever they go. As for myself, I've been carrying two of my coins with me for a few years.

Prior to my ten-year anniversary, I used to carry the previous year's anniversary coin in one of my pockets. After my ten-year anniversary, I began carrying two coins in my pockets at all times.

Sometimes when I pull loose change out of my pockets while paying for something at a store or restaurant, people standing near me will notice the AA coins that are in my hands, then ask me what the coins are. More often than not, people say that
they've never seen such coins before.

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Appearance

Most Alcoholics Anonymous coins appear to be made of brass and they are significantly heavier than most other coins. These coins are fairly large, also. The average Alcoholics Anonymous coin measures-in at roughly 1.25" .

The front side of an AA anniversary coin features an engraving of a triangle, with the words "Recovery", "Unity" and "Service" engraved into the sides and bottom of the triangle.

An engraved circle sits in the middle of each engraved triangle. The number of sobriety years that are being recognized are represented in Roman numerals in the circle.

On the back side of an Alcoholics Anonymous coin, the "Serenity Prayer" is engraved into the surface.

Significance

People who are not members of AA will probably not understand why the anniversary coins are so important to members of the program.

For many members of Alcoholics Anonymous however, the anniversary coins are important, both literally and symbolically.

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