Celebrating sobriety is an incredible opportunity. Every day a person is sober is a milestone, and it puts them one day closer to long-term well-being and health. In AA, AA chips or sobriety coins are often given to individuals as they approach important milestones in their sobriety. These chips can be an important symbol of their accomplishment. Many times, these chips become very valuable and meaningful to those individuals.
If it is your task to present AA chips to an individual who has reached this type of milestone, you may be unsure how to make the event and moment meaningful. These chips are sometimes given during AA chip ceremonies. In other cases, they are handed out in a less formal setting. In all situations, that symbol you are handing to an individual in recovery is valuable. Putting a bit of time into planning a speech is important, then. What should you say?
Ideas to Get You Started
Because AA chips are a personal element, it’s important to make any speech you give intimately about the individual receiving the chip. The person presenting it should be someone who has had personal experience with that individual and knows his or her accomplishments, struggles and needs. The following are some ideas to get you started, but it’s more important to use these prompts as jumping-off points. Be sure any speech you give conveys a personal element to the individual. When you do, you make the experience even more special.
Discuss the Importance of Sobriety Chips
One of the most important components of any speech about AA chips should be what the chips represent. Communicate, for example, just how difficult it is for anyone to remain sober. It is a challenge, but a worthwhile one. And while it may seem incredibly easy for anyone on the outside, those who have been through it share a common bond of overcoming a challenge and looking defeat in the face. Discuss the success that AA chips represent to those who are in the battle for their life, winning one scrimmage after the next day-by-day.
Provide a Personal Story
It’s important to find a way to connect to those who are receiving the AA chip. There may not be a better way to do this than through a personal story. If you, for example, have remained sober for an extended amount of time, share a story about when you were faced with the challenge of relapsing and overcame it. Provide a personal story about the thought patterns you had or the way you were forced to embrace difficult decisions and how easy it could have been to make the wrong one.
For those who have not gone through AA previously or may not have such a personal story, provide a personal accounting of what you’ve experienced. For example, did you watch this individual battle through chronic pain or illness in order to remain sober? Perhaps the individual inspired you to accomplish some type of goal because of their commitment to improving their health.
Discuss the Milestone Itself
AA chips are available for numerous milestones. Most people receive their first as a one-month chip, marking a full month of sobriety. One is available for each month after that in which the individual remains sober. A yearly AA chip is then awarded.
Talk about that milestone. What happened in that first month? How has their life changed over the last year? It can be important to speak about the length of time itself because day-to-day, the challenges seem overwhelming. Yet, seeing that you’ve overcoming addiction for a month, three months or six months indicates a real accomplishment. It feels good.
Focus on Accomplishments, Not the Negative
When awarding AA chips, the focus should be on providing encouragement and respect. It is not beneficial to focus on the negative. For example, discuss how the individual overcame during those initial days of sobriety. Don’t focus on the pain and the way they reacted to it. The key is to allow them to see what they’ve overcome but to not dwell on the negative aspects of the process. You want them moving forward, not looking back.
One way to do this is to speak about what you’ve personally seen the individual accomplishments. For example, what were they like and what difficulties were they facing in their life when you first met them? What were your initial thoughts when they made it through the first week? What impressed you about this particular individual? Talk only about things they would want you to share, and, of course, never break confidences.
Discuss Your Hopes for Their Future
Another important component of AA chip ceremonies is the look ahead. What do you want or expect to happen in the next month or year for this person? Don’t put a lot of pressure on them — you want to encourage them but not create impossible goals. Discuss why you believe they have the tools and resources to be successful in the coming period of time. Are they brave and inspiring? Are you confident they have the tools they need to succeed? Perhaps you want to say just how proud you are of them at this point in their lives.
When it comes to AA chip ceremonies, they don’t have to be large events with many people. Sometimes, a private, personal gathering with just a few people is all that’s necessary. In other cases, you may be presenting a chip to one person out of a larger group. In all situations, keep the ceremony as personal as possible.
Be sure he or she understands that not only is the chip important; their accomplishment in remaining sober for this length of time is important to you. When you do this, you show them the true value of their accomplishment: that their hard work to getting to this point was worth it because someone else values it as much as they do. Don’t overlook how a simple chip like this can make an impression on an individual.
Encouragement’s Importance in Recovery
At the Florida House Experience, a significant amount of our effort is on helping individuals to achieve their best life. We’ve seen people face some of the most challenging periods of their lives. AA can be a component of their treatment, and AA chips can work well to honor their accomplishments. Our team is always available to help you support your loved one on their journey.