Ayla’s Story

My name is Angela Sanford and I would like to share my story and testimony of how Legacy Freedom Treatment Centers have had a tremendous impact on my life, and most importantly, the life of my daughter and grandkids.

From the time that I was a preteen, I had dreamed of having three children. It was my heart’s desire to have a blonde-haired, little girl named Ayla. Fast forward a few years, and my dreams came true! I had three children, one of which was a daughter with blonde hair. We named her Ayla. She was full of energy. She loved life and was an active child. We had a close relationship, just as I did with all of my children. As a preteen, Ayla was your typical child. We were the family next door. Or so I thought.contact-us-button

In 2012 at the age of 22, I began seeing red flags. I watched as her choices and friends changed. I also began noticing that Ayla was pulling away from her family. Not only did her lifestyle change, so did her weight. In a matter of months, my daughter went from weighing 135 pounds to less than 90 pounds. Her skin was no longer vibrant and her eyes were dark and empty. Ayla’s appearance and mood changed greatly. Her appearance reflected the fact that she no longer cared for herself.

Ayla was no longer able to care for her children, so they were removed from her custody. After she lost her children, Ayla’s decline progressed rapidly. She had no interest in life. I saw signs of physical and emotional abuse. It was the most helpless feeling I've known.

Ayla expressed that she felt as though no one loved her. My “heart’s desire” felt as though no one loved her! That was hard to hear and even harder to realize this is how my baby felt. It was devastating.

She was consistently hiding from law enforcement and eventually spent some time in jail. My beautiful, blonde-haired daughter was addicted to methamphetamine. I began fighting for my daughter's life once I understood what was going on. I fought with every step, every breath, and every thought that was within me. With the help of friends, my amazing church family, and my community; we began a grassroots effort to stop drug use in our community. Maybe if we stop drug use for others it would somehow impact my daughter as well.

I formed Run Against Addiction. We began orchestrating a 5K Run for our community. We wanted to raise awareness around drug activity in our community. Brad Wilkerson of Legacy Freedom Treatment Centers learned of Run Against Addiction and asked how he could help. Boy, what perfect timing! My beautiful daughter was in jail and hopeless. I didn't know what to do, but I was willing to fight for her regardless of what that meant.

Legacy Freedom Treatment Centers began helping my family to understand how to handle Ayla’s addiction. We started to learn how we could help her. Brad told me, “It’s gonna be okay.” Boy, did I need that reassurance! At this time, Ayla began running from her responsibilities and fighting back. Eventually, she was arrested again and served more time in jail. It was during this last incarceration that Ayla finally received her wake up call. She finally realized she had lost her children, her home, and lastly her freedom.

During her incarceration, Ayla saw her children from behind the glass window during visitation hours. She couldn’t hug them, touch them, or wipe their tears. She could only see them from behind a glass. Finally, my daughter admitted she needed and wanted help.

Thank heavens for Legacy Freedom Treatment Centers! She learned to trust their staff and the reality of the situation had created a turning point in her life. Once released from jail, she was admitted and enrolled in a 90-day outpatient program. Ayla began attending and participating in group therapy, one-on-one counseling, sound therapy, yoga, tai-chi, acupuncture, and began receiving treatments in the form of holistic medicine.

Almost immediately I noticed my daughter was coming back! I watched her self esteem skyrocket! My Ayla could start to look at herself and figure out who she wanted to become. Ayla was strong, purposeful, and confident for the first time in a very long time. She began rebuilding relationships that had been destroyed by her addiction to methamphetamine.

Ayla began working off her probation requirements. She’s working towards her high school diploma and has plans to attend college to become a CNA. She’s even started saving for her own vehicle.contact-us-button

She works at sobriety daily and has already been able to remove herself from several tempting situations! For the first time in her life, Ayla is now standing on her own two feet providing for herself and children. She’s again living with her children and is proving herself to be a great mother! Ayla has been clean for more than eight months. This Thanksgiving is a special one for our family. Not only will be giving thanks to God for Ayla and her safe return to health, but we will be giving thanks for Legacy Freedom Treatment Centers. There are not enough words to express how grateful I am to have my daughter back. My beautiful daughter is happy and is determined to show the world what you can be if you put your mind to it. Thank you Legacy!


Read The Daily Courier's press release.

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