A new smartphone app called Step Away provides immediate help for some of the daily struggles of AUD recovery.  The user-directed app offers stepwise strategies to support abstinence or moderation through setting goals and rewards, and utilizes proven strategies to support the user during cravings. Step Away is free and available on iTunes.

The app was developed by Dr. Patrick Dulin, a University of Alaska psychologist and the founder and director of Here and Now Systems, with the help of funding from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). In a pilot test, people with alcohol-use disorder who used a prototype of the app were able to cut back on their heavy drinking days by over 60 percent and reduce their drinking overall.  Since this initial 2013 study, Dr. Dulin has refined the app, allowing it to be customized to the user’s needs.

According to the Step Away website, users of the app will:

  • Become more aware of drinking patterns and triggers
  • Set an overall drinking objective (to either stop drinking OR moderate drinking) as well as smaller intermediate goals to ensure success in stages
  • Set rewards for meeting goals
  • Stay in control when tempted to drink by providing immediately available tools
  • Learn new and helpful strategies for dealing with cravings, bad moods and boredom
  • Stay on track during personally defined “high risk times” for drinking
  • Be reminded of personal reasons for making a change when craving a drink or in a tempting situation
  • Set up a support team and reach out for help when needed
  • Share progress with others (family, friends or health care provider)
  • Monitor progress through weekly reports on drinking, triggers and mood
  • Prepare for “high risk events” in the coming week and strategically avoid alcohol triggers
  • Identify alternate (non-drinking) activities and schedule them directly into your calendar


More Information

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*PGDF is not affiliated with the developers of Step Away.