Keep doing what you do best – keeping people sober. My counselor kept me focused and had a faith in me that I could only learn in time. Thank you.

For Concerned Others

Aldie Counseling Center—
Providing sevices to concerned others.

It's natural to be concerned and to want to intervene when a loved one, a friend, a neighbor, an employee or someone we work with does things that we believe are harmful to him/her. When someone we care about drinks to excess, uses illegal drugs, or abuses medications, it can be puzzling, frustrating, and even painful to witness the results of these behaviors that create relationship, health, employment, and sometimes legal problems.

While it's true that we cannot change other people — we can change only ourselves — sometimes what we do can cause another person to want to make some changes in his/her life, or to at least be willing to examine behaviors and their consequences.


Aldie offers consultations for family members who are concerned about a loved one's drug/alcohol use. Families can call Aldie (215-345-8530 in Doylestown or 215-642-3230 in Langhorne) and talk with an MES (Mobile Engagement Services) Worker, who will listen to your concerns, provide guidance, and suggest a course of action. Under some circumstances, the MES Worker can come to your home.

Every Thursday evening, Aldie's Evening Recovery Program offers a lecture and process group focused on the family. The MES Worker could arrange for you to attend if you would like to do that.

Clients are encouraged to include family in their treatment, although a client may need time to become comfortable with this. People often feel a great deal of shame when they first come into treatment and it's not easy for the client to deal with that in front of family members until s/he gains an understanding of the addictive process. Addiction puts a strain on the whole family, and it's important that everyone in the family learn about this illness and then work toward recovery together.

Some suggestions that may help:

  1. Understand that you are not the cause of a family member's use of alcohol or other drugs, no matter what the substance abuser says.
  2. You will benefit by developing a support system.  Attending an Al Anon or a Nar Anon meeting would be a good start.  Go to or call the Al Anon Intergroup of Delaware Valley 215-222-5244 for information.  Or go to to find infomation about Nar-Anon.
  3. Talk with an Aldie MES Worker about how best to discuss your concerns with the substance abuser to persuade him/her to have a professional evaluation of his/her use of alcohol or other drugs. Identifying a problem is the first step in addressing it.


If a friend's drinking or drug use is concerning to you, it's best to approach him/her in a private place and at a time when your friend is not under the influence. Assure your friend that you value this friendship. Express your concern without judgment or anger, but from your perspective, e.g., "I'm worried about how your drinking/drug use is affecting your life - your relationships with family and friends, your job, your health. I see what it's doing to you — and I want to help you. I'm afraid you're going to get into real trouble (or more trouble). I don't know if you drink (use drugs) because you're unhappy or depressed or if there are things worrying you, but there are people you can talk to, who can help you get back on track. You are different when you drink (use drugs) and I miss the friend I used to know." Don't be surprised if your friend becomes angry and defensive. Stay calm and objective.

Provide your friend with information about substance abuse (check the Internet or call Aldie and ask for booklets). Suggest that s/he make an appointment for a professional evaluation that will provide an unbiased assessment of the level of severity of any drug/alcohol problem, whether treatment is advised, and what level of treatment would be appropriate. Offer Aldie's phone numbers and offer to accompany your friend to the assessment appointment.

You may have more influence with your friend than you imagine. You could provide the impetus s/he needs to begin to recognize and to confront the problem and take the first step toward recovery.


Handling employees with alcohol and/or other drug problems is difficult at best. However, when their behavior impacts job performance or the safety of your other employees, you have a legitimate right to intervene. Below are some important guidelines to follow in dealing with these troubled employees. Keep in mind that confronting the employee constructively and consistently can only help; ignoring the situation will most likely make it worse. And if you are ever in doubt about how to handle the situation, call Aldie — we are here to help.



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