Matt’s Memoir

Riding Shotgun Through a Hurricane: A Memoir of Addiction and Radical Recovery

Riding Shotgun CoverRiding Shotgun 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 enough 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

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