Sunday, November 11, 2012

DIY Personalized Recovery Chips

Recovery chips, also referred to as AA coins or 12-step medallions, are given out in honor of one's period of sobriety.  Different programs offer chip meetings, though chips are not generally given out at smaller meetings.  Chips for smaller periods of abstience, such as 24 hours, 1 month or 3 months are often made from plastic.  Longer periods may be in aluminum, such as for 6-months, 9-months or a year.  Past that, anniversary or birthday chips are often made from bronze.

One side of the chip may read, "To Thine Own Self Be True" and show a triangle with Unity, Service and Recovery on each of its sides.  On the back, you will often see the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change
the courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Our Self-Expression meeting, where I lead our art projects, does not have a 7th Tradition large enough to fund offering chips.  However, for many, this is their home group and those people expressed a desire to receive a chip at their home group meeting.  So to accommodate this wish, I decided we would make our own chips using Shrinky Dinks!  This project was a little more difficult to orchestrate as I had to borrow a toaster oven so we could bake our chips during the meeting.

Supplies needed:

  • Shrinky Dink sheets (currently available for $22 / set of 50 sheets)
  • colored pencils - do NOT use colored markers as the colors will fade
  • any round object, roughly 3.25" in diameter (if you want to make them turn out roughly the size of a standard chip)
  • toaster oven

OPTIONAL (if you want to turn them into key chains):


  1. Trace the outline of your 3.25" diameter round object (I used the base of a drinking glass).
  2. Cut the round chip out.
  3. OPTIONAL:  If you are going to want to make key chains, you will need to cut the hole before baking.  I used a standard hole-punch and cut an area equal to 3 hole-punch holes to create a hole large enough to accommodate our split key rings.
  4. Color and write on your chip.  Any areas you leave uncolored will appear somewhat translucent  so I recommend coloring in as much of the plastic as you can.  I wrote down my specific anniversary dates for my programs and then the current number of years I've been in each program.  But you can also simply write a meaningful slogan that inspires you to remain sober.  Here are some sample slogans you might choose to use:
      • Stick around for the miracle.
      • This too shall pass.
      • You are not alone.
      • Turn it over.
      • Progress, not perfection.
      • But for the grace of God.
      • Attitude of Gratitude.
      • Courage to Change
      • Easy Does It
      • One Day at a Time
      • Just for Today
      • Happy, Joyous and Free
      • Let Go and Let God
      • Keep Coming Back
  • Pre-heat the toaster oven (or conventional oven if you don't have a toaster oven) to 325 F
  • Cut a rectangular shape out of a brown grocery bag and turn one corner up (turned up corner will be the handle you will use to remove the Shrinky Dink from the tray or cookie sheet)
  • Place Shrinky Dink pieces, colored side up, on brown paper and place on tray or cookie sheet. Put into pre-heated oven.
  • Watch as your Shrinky Dinks shrink. Bake approximately 1 to 3 minutes or until pieces lay flat (they will initially curl during the process as they shrink).  If pieces are too large, they may curl and the edges may adhere to itself permanently.
  • Remove paper from tray or cookie sheet.  Lightly press flat with a folded paper or a pad of paper until pieces have cooled (approximately 15 seconds).
  • OPTIONAL:  If you are making key chains, I advise putting the chips onto the slip-rings as soon as possible.  The warm plastic will allow the chip to slip more easily onto the ring with less risk of the chip cracking in the process.

Your final chip should look something like this:

We wish you a Happy Birthday or Anniversary however long you've been in recovery - whether for 24 hours or 24 years, whether for less or for even more!

1 comment:

  1. Very nice article. Thanks for sharing the instruction to make keychains. It will help us a lot - Aa sobriety keychain