About Matt Kowalski

Matthew KowalskiMatthew Kowalski is a recovery coach, Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor, and motivational speaker who has worked with recovering addicts as a coach, and in both clinical and 12-step settings, for 14 years. Matt has completed hundreds of hours of continuing education, and is skilled in Motivational Interviewing, Nonviolent Communication, Harm Reduction, and Dialectical Behavioral Training. He has worked with Walden House and Lutheran Social Services, and is deeply connected to the Bay Area recovery community.

Matt understands addiction from the inside out. For 27 years, he was a homeless, disenfranchised addict and alcoholic, diagnosed as mentally ill. Long after most had given him up as a hopeless case, he made the decision to become clean and sober.

Matt is also an author, artist, and musician. He recently published a memoir of his personal journey of addiction and recovery, Riding Shotgun through a Hurricane. He is an abstract artist who creates multimedia works in his own Radical Relief style and shows his work all over the Bay Area. A professional multi-instrument musician, Matt played drums, guitar, and sang with dozens of San Francisco bands in the 1980s. He continues to play in the East Bay.

He and his wife, Kathryn Sterbenc, reside in Oakland, California, where they actively participate in building a healthier community. In accordance with their motto — “Oakland: It’s a hometown, not a crime scene” — they invest considerable time and energy in Oakland’s violence prevention and public library programs, and the development of essential services and survival strategies for Oakland residents.