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Finding Romance on a Quest for the ‘Perfect Milkshake’


Early into her sobriety in 2014, Alyson Marla Chavez attended a recovery-themed meditation class on the Mindfulness Community of Milwaukee. She went at her sponsor’s behest, initially rolling her eyes at the entire thing. Then she caught sight of Joshua Robert Stewart.

“I noticed: ‘Oh, there are cute guys at A.A.,’” Ms. Chavez mentioned.

The two struck up a dialog throughout a tea break however didn’t cross paths once more till just a few months later, at an Alcoholics Anonymous assembly that spring. Mr. Stewart observed that Ms. Chavez, who was having a very tough day, appeared distressed. So he supplied to go on a stroll and seize a coffee along with her when the assembly ended.

From then, the pair started spending extra time collectively, each at and out of doors of conferences. Though a deeper connection began to bud, romance wasn’t on both of their minds.

Neither Ms. Chavez nor Mr. Stewart had been making their first try at sobriety, however each by then had been dedicated to creating it stick. That meant hewing carefully to the directives of Alcoholics Anonymous, which cautions towards new romantic entanglements within the first 12 months.

“We had been pals,” mentioned Ms. Chavez, 46, who was raised in Lakewood, Colo. “It was enjoyable and thrilling to hang around with him, however at first, we actually had been simply attempting to construct our lives.”

They went on coffee runs, out for meals and engaged in additional frivolous however amusing pursuits resembling scouring Milwaukee, the place each had been residing, for the “good milkshake,” Ms. Chavez mentioned. They additionally spent plenty of time outside.

“I like utilizing nature as a kind of a better energy,” mentioned Mr. Stewart, 40, who grew up in a Milwaukee suburb.

After many months, Mr. Stewart, who then labored as a area service technician and infrequently needed to journey, had a realization whereas on a visit to California: He missed Ms. Chavez.

In December 2014, the couple had their first actual date. They went ice skating, which proved to be extra romantic in idea than in execution.

“I feel we went across the rink as soon as, and each virtually fell about ten occasions,” Ms. Chavez recalled. They quickly ditched their skates and obtained scorching chocolate as a substitute.

Both say that their bond and love couldn’t have deepened over time with out open communication, a robust swimsuit for the couple from the start.

“One of the essential elements of being sober, if you happen to actually need to make it work, is being totally trustworthy with your self and everybody else in your life,” Ms. Chavez mentioned. “We perceive the best way to be trustworthy with one another, the best way to discuss to one another, the best way to get by issues collectively.”

Added Mr. Stewart, “It’s good to continually have that accomplice in crime that’s on the identical web page as you.”

He proposed on the day after Christmas in 2019, whereas the 2 had been on trip in Santa Barbara, Calif. A month earlier he had surreptitiously flown out to Los Angeles to ask for Ms. Chavez’s household’s permission.

“He’s an incredible planner,” Ms. Chavez mentioned. “He’s very considerate about how he celebrates folks.”

Months later, when the arrival of the pandemic led them to postpone their unique wedding ceremony date, in August 2020, they noticed it as a disappointing, but becoming, improvement.

“It’s very typical for issues to take a very long time for us,” mentioned Ms. Chavez. “We are a slow-moving couple. It’s a part of what I feel has stored us so sturdy.”

While working to restage their nuptials, the 2 purchased a home in May 2021 in Franklin, Wis., the place they at present stay. Ms. Chavez is now a bilingual director of neighborhood relations at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. Mr. Stewart works in technical gross sales at Cleaver-Brooks, Inc., a equipment trade firm in Milwaukee.

They had been married July 30 on the Lake Park Summer Stage, in Milwaukee. The Rev. Rick Deines, a Lutheran minister and a founding father of the Serenity Inns, an habit restoration middle the place Mr. Stewart as soon as lived, officiated. The venue, inside the town’s Lake Park, was a spot the couple often visited, to take walks, train and luxuriate in stay music.

For the reception that adopted, as a nod to the placement, that they had organized an out of doors live performance for his or her 145 visitors. A detailed good friend that they had met by Alcoholics Anonymous carried out a two-hour set together with his band.

“We’ve actually taken good steps in the precise path, and we’ve stayed sober by all of it,” mentioned Mr. Stewart, who together with Ms. Chavez has now been sober for greater than eight years.

“I at all times say it’s a miracle and it truly is,” mentioned Ms. Chavez. “It’s not like our life is ideal. But we’ve been capable of rebuild.”

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