Chat2Recovery Team

Chat2Recovery (C2R), LLC was developed on the vision of Nicholas Lessa, LCSW-R, MA, CASAC an innovator in the addiction treatment field for over three decades. He believed that existing treatment centers for substance use disorders reached only a small percentage of individuals with problem substance use. He was intent on discovering alternative means for reaching this population. After years of research and preparation, C2R was born in early 2012. With a team of highly skilled and licensed social workers, C2R was developed to reach those reluctant to participate in traditional treatment centers, unable to access traditional treatment centers or simply could not afford them.

Nicholas R. Lessa

Nick Lessa

Nicholas is the President and Clinical Director of C2R. He has also been functioning as the Chief Executive Officer and partner of Inter-Care, Ltd., a private and New York state-licensed outpatient treatment center in New York City for the past 12 years. Inter-Care has developed the reputation for being one of the leading treatment providers in New York serving thousands. Under Mr. Lessa’s direction, it has earned the reputation of providing gold standard treatment in a warm and caring environment utilizing evidenced-based practices. Don’t take our word for it. Look for yourself. View Inter-Care’s Scorecard updated annually by the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) indicating its treatment results in comparison to other New York based treatment centers at their Treatment Provider Provider page. Mr. Lessa is proud of what he and his management team have accomplished at Inter-Care and what will continue with C2R.

Mr. Lessa is a licensed, clinical social worker; a master’s level psychologist; and a credentialed alcohol and substance abuse counselor in the field for over 30 years. He provides numerous lectures on topics pertaining to the treatment of substance use disorders throughout New York. Mr. Lessa is an Associate Adjunct Professor at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work and is also in private practice. He is the lead author of two books entitled, Concise Guides to Mental Health: Substance Use Disorders and Living with Alcoholism and Drug Addiction. Mr. Lessa is an honorary member of the Psi Chi National Honor Society in Psychology. He is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), a board member of the Addiction Treatment Professionals Association (ATPA) and a member of the prestigious, international Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) since 1995.

Maria Mercado-Gross


Maria Gross is the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of C2R. She has also been serving as the Chief Financial Officer and partner of Inter-Care, Ltd. She has been involved in the field of addiction for more than eleven years. She has held fiscal directorship positions for the last fifteen years. Mrs. Gross has served both profit and non-profit organizations creating budgets, analyzing financials, creating fiscal reports for government agencies, and leading the development and implementation of various training events and workshops in the addiction treatment community. She is currently the co-founder of the Inter-Care Foundation developed to assist individuals and their families affected by substance use disorders gain access to quality treatment regardless of their financial and health insurance status.

Laura Lessa LMSW, Consultant


Laura Lessa, LMSW, has held management positions in the private and public sectors for over 25 years and has worked in the chemical dependency field since 1994. As Director of Operations, she is involved in all aspects of program development, training, and management, both clinically and administratively. She oversees the agency’s compliance standards and quality improvement programs, and is the site coordinator for the agency’s internship program. Laura dedicates much of her time to the Inter-Care Foundation, creating treatment opportunities for those who could not otherwise afford it and developing wellness groups and family programs for the Inter-Care community. She brings her wealth of experience to C2R as an operations consultant. Laura has done extensive work with the treatment community on the policy level and has chaired committees to develop professional workshops, conferences and special events. She is a member of NASW, holds a SIFFI license and is a volunteer with NYC Medical Reserve Corp.

Our Counseling Staff


The clinical team of C2R consists of licensed social workers, mental health counselors, psychologists and credentialed alcohol and substance abuse counselors. Chat2Recovery will only utilize counselors who are licensed and credentialed. All counselors are regularly supervised and expected to take continuing education classes.