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A Wedding Ceremony Celebrates Recovery from Opioid Addiction, Love, and Growth

Published Tuesday, Dec. 4th, 2018

A bride and groom hold hands while sitting across from each other at the table. Behind them, a large window, with a few of trees in the distance.
Still of the couple from Youtube video "In the Library."

A real wedding story of love, hope, and family.



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AMM Audio Articles · A Wedding Ceremony Celebrates Recovery from Opioid Addiction, Love, and Growth



When AMM Minister Christopher Dexheimer was asked to officiate his brother’s wedding, it was a joyous conclusion to a long story with a dark beginning. That story began when the bride and groom both -- yet to meet each other -- checked into Sierra Tucson, a psychiatric hospital and treatment center for those dealing with substance abuse.


Well… truth be told, that dark beginning was also the start of a beautiful story, since that same psychiatric hospital set the stage for the relationship that blossomed between Alba Hancock and Robbie Dexheimer.


Their relationship wasn’t always sunny -- when Ms. Hancock first saw Mr. Dexheimer, he was in withdrawal from opioids.


He was shivering and sweating,” she told the New York Times. “It was awful.


Prior to that, Mr. Dexheimer’s addiction had reduced him to a life of crime and homelessness. Ms. Hancock’s addictions had upended her life as well, ultimately landing her in the hospital and multiple treatment centers. 



A close up photo of the bride and groom embracing.

Still of the couple from Youtube video "In the Library." 



It took both of them years to overcome their addictions, but in the end, they made it. Almost a decade after the couple met at Sierra Tucson, their relationship, careers, and lives have improved remarkably -- and they wanted a ceremony that reflected this fact.


The groom’s brother was ordained through American Marriage Ministries, and together they set about creating a ceremony to reflect their shared experiences.


The groom’s vows included the words, “You and I have never stopped pushing forward. We have never stopped loving despite the odds we faced.


The bride’s vows included the words, “I have loved you through our darkest moments, which threatened everything. We are inextricably intertwined. We are a family.



Original composition for piano and orchestra as a gift to Alba and Robbie on their wedding day.



American Marriage Ministries is truly honored to have helped Ms. Hancock, Mr. Dexheimer, and their officiant Christopher Dexheimer create such a powerfully ceremony – even if was only by providing free online ordination. Having his brother officiate was important for the groom, and the ceremony was a powerful testament to the bonds of family.



For more coverage of this event, please check out the New York Times’ excellent writeup.



Updated April 2021


Do you have an original idea that you want to incorporate into your wedding ceremony? Get started planning, with a copy of our ceremony creation guide Asked to Officiate.



photograph of the American Marriage Ministries book, Asked to Officiate, to help ordained ministers learn how to perform marriage, along with a cup of coffee and some notebook paper



Or order a copy of Navigating Your Wedding Ceremony, a wedding planning guide written for creative couples and filled with behind-the-scenes industry tips and options for curating a one of a kind ceremony. 


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Lewis King
Lewis King

Staff Writer

Lewis loves exploring the space between power, discourse, and material reality where institutions like marriage are defined. He also wears other hats at AMM, like taking out the recycling and restocking the sparkling water.

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