My name is Angela Sanford and I would like to share my story and testimony of how Legacy Freedom Treatment Center has had a tremendous impact on my life, and the life of my daughter.
From the time that I was a young preteen, I had dreamed of having three children. After having watched a movie, 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. Ayla was full of energy; she loved life and was an active child. We had a close relationship just as with my other children as well. As a preteen, Ayla was your typical child. We were the family next door! Or I thought.
In 2012 at the age of 22, I began seeing some red flags. I watched as her choices in 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 changed greatly. Her appearance reflected the fact that she no longer was interested in caring for herself.
Due to all of these changes, Ayla was no longer able to care for her children and were removed from her custody. After she lost her children, Ayla’s decline progressed rapidly. She had no interest in life. I would see signs of physical abuse and saw she was hanging with the wrong crowd. Ayla expressed to me that she felt as though no one loved her and didn't care about her anymore. 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!
She was running from law enforcement and wound up spending some time in jail. My beautiful, blonde-haired daughter was addicted to methamphetamine. I began fighting for my daughter. I began fighting 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.
I formed Run Against Addiction. We began planning a 5K Run for our community. We wanted to raise awareness of drug activity in our community and set about to make a difference. Brad Wilkerson of Legacy Freedom Treatment Center found out about Run Against Addiction and asked how he could help. Boy, what perfect timing! My beautiful daughter was in jail.
I was lost but fighting.
Legacy Freedom Treatment Center began helping my family to understand how to handle Ayla’s addiction and how we could help her. Brad told me, “Mom, 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 and served time in jail. Ayla finally received her wake up call. She had lost her children, her home, and her freedom.
During this time, Ayla only saw her children from behind the glass window during specific 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 Center! Once she was released from jail, she was admitted to their program the next day. She 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. 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 and confident and began rebuilding the relationships that had been destroyed when she was using methamphetamine.
As of November 2012, Ayla is now working through her probation, she’s working towards a high school diploma, she has plans to attend school to become a CNA, and she’s working towards buying her own vehicle! She is working hard, 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 also been clean and free for 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 to Legacy Freedom Treatment Center. There are not enough words to express how grateful I am to have my daughter back. My beautiful daughter is happy, she’s successful, and she’s showing the world how responsible she is. Thank you Legacy!Ayla's Mom, Angela,