Step Away: NZ Edition app

A New Zealand app to help you control your drinking.

Step Away: NZ Edition By Alcohol Intervention
Features
  • Goal setting
  • Track progress
  • Education and information 
  • New Zealand based
  • Connect to local support services

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Security and privacy Does the app:
  • collect medical information? Yes
  • require a login? Yes
  • have password protection? Yes
  • have a privacy policy? Yes (Read more)
  • require internet access? Yes
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Cost Free

What does the app do?

The Step Away: NZ Edition app is aimed at helping New Zealanders reduce the amount of alcohol they drink or to stop drinking alcohol altogether. The app is also designed to help you connect with alcohol-related health services in New Zealand, should you need them. 

The app provides you with the tools to help you manage your drinking. You can:

  • assess your level of drinking
  • set goals to manage your drinking
  • use the app's tool to help you reach these goals
  • quickly and easily connect with people who are part of your support network
  • link to external support networks.

Initially developed in the United States over several years by addiction psychologists, the app was adapted for New Zealand by a team at the University of Auckland. 

When you download the app, you may be asked to join a study to assess the impact of the app on alcohol use. Taking part in the study is voluntary. Read more about participation in the study. For the complete app description, go to the app website, App Store or, for a more detailed review, see Reviews

PROS CONS 

✔ It uses a motivational enhancement therapy (MET) framework. This is an evidence-based approach that empowers users to make internally motivated change.

Module 1: Drinking profile. There is an assessment on your drinking quantity and frequency, assessment of alcohol dependency (SADQ), drinking consequences (SIP), drinking motives (DMQR) and drinking costs (monetary and caloric). It also gives norm-based feedback (comparison to the average) and visualises the important data in graph form.

Sends an email summary of your drinking profile (only works with the Apple mail app activated, not Gmail or presumably other clients).

Module 2: Facilitative goal setting. It allows you to choose between an abstinence and moderation drinking approach. Guidance is given to aid the goal setting, eg, if moderation is chosen you are told the likelihood of success based on your dependency score.

Module 3: Setting rewards. For example, you are prompted to reward yourself with each daily goal met.

Module 4: Cravings. You are given coping strategies to manage these, such as pleasant activity scheduling, mindfulness and contacting a support person.

Module 5: Behavioural strategies for preventing relapse looking at timing, approach, consumption and communication.

Module 6: Supportive. Emphasises social support and facilitates sending reports to significant others and text alerts during high risk times. Helps you connect with alcohol-related services or people within your own support network.

Module 7: Reminders. You are asked to write down how life will improve with changes to drinking and are advised to create verbal and visual (photos) reminders.

Module 8: High risk times. Alerts you to when a high risk time is approaching (based on previous assessments) and provides alternative activities.

Module 9: Moods. Information on the link between mood and drinking, feedback on current and previous mood levels, and suggestions. Assesses mood with a validated tool (DASS).

Module 10: New activities. Guides you to replace drinking with non-drinking activities. Links to calendar to schedule activities with reminders (only works with Apple calendar, not Google calendar or presumably other calendars).

✘ At the time of review there is no Android app but it is in development and is anticipated to launch soon.

✘ The app advertises “60% reduction in drinking” but does not disclose that this is from unpublished results. Nevertheless there is a pilot study for the US version and the framework is evidence based.

✘ It appears that some of the functionality requires first party Apple apps, such as the mail and calendar features. They don't work with Google versions or presumably others.

✘ No specific Māori/Pasifika content at the time of review due to lack of funding.











Review details

Date of review: May 2020
Platform reviewed: Apple
Version: 1.0

App developer
If you are the developer and would like to provide updated information about this app, please email the app library manager at applibrary@healthnavigator.org.nz.

Disclaimer: Health Navigator’s app library is a free consumer service to help you decide whether a health app would be suitable for you. Our review process is independent. We have no relationship with the app developers or companies and no responsibility for the service they provide. This means that if you have an issue with one of the apps we have reviewed, you will need to contact the app developer or company directly.

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Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team.