About Alternatives

At Alternatives, our mission is to invest in people who find themselves faced with problems and consequences related to substance use.

We want to assist people in a process of positive change by providing direction and structure in a supportive and appealing environment. We seek to create a collaboration in which clients harness their own strengths and innate energy to address their needs and find a pathway to a more rewarding and fulfilling life.


We believe chemical dependency is brought about by a combination of causative factors. Genetics, social activities, stress, family tradition, and relaxation can all be involved in initiating this disease. There is no one source or solution.

People realize that they need help with substance use through experiencing problems related to health, relationships, employment, legal infractions, or a general disintegration of values and quality of life. They come to treatment through a unique pathway, with a particular set of needs. We do not believe in the “one size fits all” mentality.

Alcohol/drug treatment provides an opportunity to evaluate one’s life, and create an atmosphere for a paradigm shift. New ways of thinking, feeling and responding become possible.

Some people have become stuck, frustrated or demoralized by their experiences with alcohol or drugs. We believe alternatives are available and change is possible. Those who feel helpless can recover the power of choice.


  • To create an individualized experience that incorporates what each person brings into treatment. It is imperative that our clients recognize they are valued and respected.
  • To provide treatment that is holistic and not dogmatic, with an eye to responding to clients’ on-going needs and assisting them to take responsibility for developing a recovery journey that works for them.
  • To facilitate internal, fundamental changes and transform lives through education, skill-building, support and resolution of underlying issues. We want to help people build a foundation that enables them to meet their continuing goals after completing treatment.


Alternatives has existed as a State Certified Agency on Lake Union since the early 1980s when Richard Silver established it as a private alternative to what was then the public system of community alcohol centers. In 1996, Lynn Pless and Paul Tribble took ownership, building a team that excelled at creating an intimate and mission-driven approach to treatment.

Christy Caldwell joined the team in 2001 and because her approach to treatment complimented the values and philosophy of Alternatives, she became Treatment Director in 2005. Christy and Paul enjoyed a fifteen year partnership as co-directors of Alternatives, until Paul's retirement in 2016. Joe Wolfe, who did a short stint at Alternatives from 2002-2005, rejoined the team in 2016 and though Paul is greatly missed, Joe brings many years of experience and a passion for helping people in his stead.

The intention at Alternatives has always been to stay small enough to maintain focus on the client, rather than the corporate structure or a business-driven need to multiply. Today, Joe and Christy comprise the leadership of an agency that remains true to its roots while moving forward in response to the evolving world of alcohol/drug treatment.