Chacku Mathai


Chacku Mathai (he/him/his) is a person in recovery, currently serving as Board President and is one of the founding board members of Friends of Recovery-NY, a statewide advocacy organization demonstrating the power and promise of addiction recovery. Chacku started his recovery advocacy journey when he was 15 years old by joining a small group of students of recovery and their families in Rochester, NY who organized the Students of Brighton Encourage Recovery (SOBER) Barn in November, 1985. The SOBER Barn was the first example of a Recovery Community Organization in NYS dedicated to and operated by young people in recovery. Chacku’s personal experiences as a youth and young adult with racism, xenophobia, trauma, suicide attempts, and serious mental health and substance use conditions, launched Chacku and his family toward a number of efforts to advocate for recoveryoriented services, inclusive social conditions, and wholistic alternative supports in the community.

He has since accumulated over thirty-six years of experience in his personal recovery, systems advocacy, and organizational leadership. Chacku’s advocacy and leadership continue in his roles on local and statewide police and crisis response initiatives, and across the country as a National Advisory Council member for the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health in Texas and the National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems. Chacku is also an appointed member of the New York State Integrated Block Grant Committee and the NYS Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council.