Traditionally, the monkey fist is a knot used by ships in the docking process and stands as an important symbol of recovery to each and every PDAPer. When a ship reaches land, the volleyball-sized knot is thrown to the shore, to make first contact with land. The ship is then pulled in by the crew, and secured to the dock.
In 1972, the Monkey’s Fist was adopted as a symbol of connection to the group, a connection that brings to reality the recovery each PDAPer works so hard to earn. It is a representation of resilience through the power of the group, reminding each person of the acceptance they’ve found.
The Monkey’s Fist is seen as a tradition of growth and unity for PDAP participants. The Monkey’s fist, a necklace with a marble-sized knot, is created by each participant during their first 30 days of recovery — symbolizing a person’s ‘first contact with reality,’ and the hope for their bright future ahead. Members wear the necklace proudly, signaling to all, the connection and security found in healing.
No one could have guessed the impact this would have on the recovery community and the movement nationally. There is a special feeling we get when we see someone we do not know with a fist. It is the feeling of knowing, “There is a friend.”