"Be consistent, work the program, be present every day": Exploring technologies for self-tracking in early recovery

Jasmine Jones, Irene Ye Yuan, Svetlana Yarosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Recovery from substance abuse disorders (SUDs) is a lifelong process of change. Self-tracking technologies have been proposed by the recovery community as a beneficial design space to support people adopting positive lifestyles and behaviors in their recovery. To explore the potential of this design space, we designed and deployed a technology probe consisting of a mobile app, wearable visualization, and ambient display to enable people to track and reflect on the activities they adopted in their recovery process. With this probe we conducted a four-week exploratory field study with 17 adults in early recovery to investigate 1) what activities people in recovery desire to track, 2) how people perceive self-tracking tools in relation to their recovery process, and 3) what digital resources self-tracking tools can provide to aid the recovery process. Our findings illustrate the array of activities that people track in their recovery, along with usage scenarios, preferences and design tensions that arose. We discuss implications for holistic self-tracking technologies and opportunities for future work in behavior change support for this context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3494955
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are indebted to our generous participants and community partners for their time and trust. Undergraduate researchers Sunny Parawala, Abigail Franz, and Tessa McRoberts contributed to the system implementation, fabrication and data analysis in the pilot phase and deployment phase of this study. We thanks the reviewers and editors for their thoughtful feedback. This work was supported the GroupLens Research Lab and by an NSF Award #1651575.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 ACM.


  • Patient-centered design
  • Self-care
  • Self-tracking
  • Sobriety
  • Substance abuse disorder


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