Some talk on AA Chips
AA Chips or AA Medallions are small round tokens that are given to members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Narcotics Anonymous and other sobriety groups also present their members with medallions and keytags. These tokens mark achievements in sobriety and recovery.
Early on, many people in AA carried personal momentos to remind themselves of the significance of their sobriety.
Sister lgnatia, the nun who worked with Dr. Bob, was the first person to use medallions in Alcoholics Anonymous. The practice of giving sobriety chips in A.A. meetings is attributed to a Group in Elmira, N.Y. in 1947. The celebration of birthdays came from the Oxford Group. They celebrated the anniversary of their spiritual rebirth.
NA and Other 12 Step recovery Programs
Later, other 12-Step fellowships adopted the system of graduated clean/sober time memorabilia. NA first used a chip system like AA’s, then eventually created its own recognizable symbol of clean time – the key tag.
Even today, chip and key tag practices differ from group to group. Some groups give out AA chips at every meeting while others only do so at anniversary meetings at the end of the month. The AA chip system is optional and not a part of all A.A. groups nationally or worldwide.
Chipmakers and the Circle and Triangle Logo
It is believed that the company that made the AA chip as we know it today occurred in Minneapolis in 1965. Wendells Inc began manufacturing the raised center bronze AA Medallion in 1973. The Wendells AA medallion is the most common bronze coin given by AA members. Now, many third party companies produce AA Medallions and other 12 Step Recovery products.
In 1993, the General Service Office tried to force third party AA medallion producers to drop the use of the circle and triangle.
GSO was advised that this was not enforceable. The main reason being that the circle and triangle were like other well-known symbols. The General Service Conference of AA decided it was better off not using the symbol. However, third party companies cannot produce products that bear NA square and circle logo. As a result, NA has a monopoly on the production of its well-known key tags and official medallions.