At Las Vegas Recovery Center we are passionate about helping others find recovery from alcohol, drugs and chronic pain. As part of this passion, we want to emphasize the importance of birthdays as milestones in our renewed lives. Our Facebook page invites you to participate. Send us a message with a photo of your recovery medallion and anything you’d like to say. We will protect your anonymity by not including your name—please don’t show your face in the photo. Let’s show everyone that #RecoveryIsReal. The tradition of birthday celebrations and medallions goes back to the founding fathers of Alcoholics Anonymous. Clarence Snyder, who got sober in 1938 and later started AA group number three, carried a silver dime with a drilled hole in it representing each year of sobriety—by his death in 1984 it had a lot of holes in it. The practice of presenting sobriety chips at meetings goes back at least as far as 1947, when a group in New York started including them in birthday anniversary celebrations. There was some controversy over birthday celebrations in early AA: people got so full of themselves over their 1 year birthday that they found it an excuse to have a drink. Eventually, though, 1-year-anniversaries were routine and no longer an occasion to feel (or get) high and mighty. One function of the chip system and celebration of 30-60-90 days of recovery is to provide an incentive for the newcomer. Thirty days without a drink or a drug may seem like a long time, but one day at a time, and by participating in recovery, it’s possible to move away from the last high and towards the short-term goal of a 30-day chip. The primary purpose now of the birthday celebration is to show the newcomer that sobriety is possible—that real, sustained recovery is attainable. Furthermore, that it’s desirable, and the celebrant—knowing that the occasion is not just about him or her—has an opportunity to stand before a group and express gratitude for the gift of recovery. Add your thoughts and comments below and follow us on Facebook!