There is no love like a mother’s love. And Michelle Garcia loves her son Cali Mike Ayub to the moon and back. But a mother’s love cannot stop a young person from making their own decision and choosing their path in life. Despite doing all she could for her son, Garcia watched helpless, from the sidelines, as Cali Mike Ayub fell into the throes of drug addiction.
As a photographer, Garcia hoped to capture the tragedy and share it with the world to inspire others to get away from drugs. So when she found her son, 20, passed out on the streets of Fresno, California, she took photos of him to show how low he has fallen. Ayub is addicted to both methamphetamine and heroin.
The photos of her son passed out in the hot street are heartbreaking. And she hopes the tragic photos spread awareness around the drug epidemic in the United States and how it affects average families everywhere.
The found her drug-addicted son face down on the sidewalk last month. They had agreed to meet for a coffee date, and he was outside the shop asleep from drug abuse on the cement. He wore a dirty shirt and no shoes. His pants were not covering him properly. Her gut told her to take photos. She didn’t know what else to do.
“This has been a huge part of my life for some time now and felt I needed to share,” she wrote to add context to her photo series. “I just saw him this morning. He was waiting for me outside a coffee shop.”
Garcia remembers her son before he fell victim to drug addiction. Now he sleeps on the street in dirty clothes.
“I cried as he layed (sic) there. He must have spent the night and felt so overwhelmed with life at that moment. My heart is broken in so many ways with all of life’s events recently.”
Later she spoke to the Fresno Bee about her photos of her son. “I cry every time I take those pictures. Every time. But that one (outside the coffee shop) I was probably hysterically crying because everything came to head.”
Garcia’s son faces a lot of struggles. He suffers from both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. But after he fell into a depression following a breakup with a girlfriend, he started using cocaine. He did so much of it, he burned a hole in his septum, so he could no longer snort it. That meant he had to “upgrade” to stronger and more addictive ones. He turned to crack and later meth and heroin. He has been addicted to meth and heroin for a year.
When he turned to drugs, he lost his job with the garbage service. He was evicted from his rental and crashed his car. His life spiraled out of control.
The drugs also made his mental health problems worse. Although Garcia has taken him to treatment centers, he lives on the streets.
She decided to share these photos to “bring out awareness of what the streets and addiction really look like.”
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