CheckUps & Choices is a web-based program designed to help users assess their drinking habits and, if they choose to, manage their drinking. The program consists of two parts: the “checkup,” in which users evaluate and receive feedback on their drinking habits, and “choices,” which is a 3–12 month program for moderating or completely stopping alcohol consumption. Users can choose to complete only the first part or both. When users first enter the program, they fill out a free short screening questionnaire about their drinking habits; this is followed by feedback and general recommendations for treatment. Further progress in the program requires users to pay. The “checkup” is a series of assessments designed to thoroughly evaluate various aspects of users’ drinking habits, including motivations, consequences, etc. The developers state that the evaluation process contributes to users’ motivation to take action and control over their drinking. In the “choices” part, users select one of the alcohol management options offered: moderate or abstain. There are also options to abstain from gambling, marijuana, opioids, or stimulants. After users make their selection, the program leads them through a series of steps designed to educate users and encourage their self-reflection on their reasons and motivations to continue or change their drinking habits. Users also set personal goals and develop strategies. Subjects include motivation, getting started (e.g., setting personal rules and committing to them), keeping track (e.g., why keep track, what to say to others), triggers (e.g., identifying triggers), urge to drink (e.g., dealing with your urges), lifestyle (e.g., healthy alternatives), lapses, relapses, and other resources. Additional features include a tracker – where users can keep a daily record of their alcohol consumption – and push notifications (via email) designed to help users continue with the program.
CheckUps & Choices is a program most suitable for users dealing with mild to moderate problems with alcohol consumption. The content is thorough and professional, and the feedback derived from the assessments is engaging. The program is also easy to learn and follow in the way that it leads the user through a step-by-step process. On the other hand, the program lacks some motivational features for users to use the program and achieve their goals, and the format of presentation (narration, videos, etc.) could be more engaging. Furthermore, the tracker, in its current state as a web-based program, may be somewhat inconvenient for daily use.
CheckUps & Choices could be suitable as a supplement to treatment for patients dealing with problem drinking. The program can be used “as-is” between therapy sessions, with the therapist fulfilling the role of supporter throughout the therapeutic process. For more severe cases, it is recommended that the program be used alongside a treatment plan that specifically targets alcohol consumption – in which the program will serve mainly as an informational tool. The program’s price (as of the date of evaluation) may be considered high for some patients, in which case we would advise clinicians to suggest other programs.