All Sandra Huffman needed was to stop hearing people tell her what she couldn’t do.
She was used to people laughing at her suggestion that she could complete an event as challenging as a distance walk for a cause. But that’s not how the founders of the In the Rooms global recovery community reacted when their 44-year-old intern said she wanted to duplicate what she saw another person accomplishing in a walk for recovery in 2010.
Armed with new confidence, Huffman began working with a trainer and setting goals for her event. Last week she left Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on a journey that will take her to Washington, D.C. by September and then to Philadelphia, for Recovery Month events.
In the Rooms’ Ron Tannebaum and Ken Pomerance have been more than impressed with the determination of a woman who not long ago was living under bridges in South Florida and is now transforming all the negatives of her lifetime into positives. “She did a lot of things to help us; she has good contacts,” says Tannebaum. “She has done a little bit of everything here.”
About to commemorate five years of sobriety, Huffman credits a 90-day in-custody treatment program for Broward County offenders for getting her on the right path. Disappointingly, she recently found herself speaking before Broward County leaders in a futile attempt to help save the same program from elimination. “They wanted to put the money elsewhere,” she says of county commissioners who scrapped the initiative.
Along her walk up the East Coast, Huffman plans to meet with any treatment and recovery organizations that will see her. Her life story and the account of this journey can be found on www.sandraswalk.org, and she is accepting donations that are being coordinated through In the Rooms.
She hopes the event will begin to create momentum for two goals she would like to fulfill: giving back to the many agencies that have tried to help her in the past, and establishing a recovery housing program for parents such as herself. “I now work for the system, not against it,” she says.