About the book: Riding Shotgun Through a Hurricane: A Memoir of Addiction and Radical Recovery chronicles Matthew Kowalski's journey from gifted child to homeless meth addict. Raised in a chaotic environment of generational abuse, he ran away at age 15 and spent the next 27 years lost in coast-to-coast madness fueled by drugs, alcohol, sex and mental illness. How does a smart, charismatic kid go from Freshman Class President to starving, shivering runaway; from British boarding school to San Francisco squats; from musical prodigy to homeless junkie? Just when his odds of survival were at their lowest - long after some assumed he was already dead - Kowalski made the radical decision at age 42 to get clean and sober for the first time in his life. A wild ride of a read! 'Riding Shotgun' is heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, at times outrageously joyous adventure, yet honest to the bone. From the heart of Kansas, Matt Kowalski rides shotgun on the road to Morocco and back, only to land on the streets of San Francisco in his own global journey of destruction. Left barely standing at the door of hopelessness, Matt leads us to the other side, where few make it, and discovers a life of redemption, resurrection, hope and service to his own tribe. A must-read for anyone living in or finding their own path toward recovery, however that looks, including those of us privileged eugh to walk with them on their own way home to Self. -Jean A. Rhea, LMFT, Clinical Director, St. Vincent de Paul, San Francisco 'Riding Shotgun Through a Hurricane' is a gripping story of hopelessness and hope, of utter defeat and miraculous victory. This graphic memoir of a talented young man's descent into drug-fueled madness, and his determination to survive and recover, is compelling, heart-rending, and haunting. Matt Kowalski's journey through a living hell of abuse and addiction will inspire anyone who has ever dreamed of a better life to believe that recovery and healing is possible. -C.J. Hayden, business coach, activist, and author of 50 Ways Coaches Can Change the World More than a personal history, this is a history of San Francisco, told from the streets. When I met Matt, he was battered beyond recognition and ready for recovery. His determination and basic decency allow for a perspective that is truly awe-inspiring. -Tamara Tucker, MFT (Matt's intrepid first therapist) Matt Kowalski's story is a true 'rags to riches' of the spirit ... Matt is one who 'walks the talk' as an inspiration and role model. -David Kroziere, Developer of One Rincon Hill and Co-Creator of the Heart of SoMa, building bridges for San Francisco's homeless Matthew Kowalski's story is raw, gripping and awe-inspiring, and his incredible courage and perseverance are admirable. I practically held my breath while reading this gripping story... Matt has done more in his one life than most do in a fraction of their lives. It was an hor to read Matt's story of transformation from childhood abuse, drug abuse and homelessness to a life rich with meaning, purpose, creativity and loving presence. -Mena K. Zaminsky, MFT, Trauma and Addiction Specialist
Matthew Kowalski is a recovery coach, certified addiction counselor and motivational speaker who has worked with recovering addicts in both clinical and 12-step settings since 1998. He is an abstract artist who creates multi-media works in his own Radical Relief style. A professional multi-instrument musician, Matt played drums and guitar and sang with dozens of bands in San Francisco in the 1980s. He continues to play in the East Bay. He and his wife, Kathryn Sterbenc, reside in Oakland, Calif.