AIM Persons diagnosed with alcohol dependency often suffer from cognitive impairments. Little is known, however, concerning how these cognitive deficits impact complex, everyday life activities. We set out to better characterize the nature of everyday life difficulties in patients with alcohol dependency using a computerized shopping task. METHODS A computerized real-life activity task (shopping task) required participants to shop for a list of eight grocery store items. Twenty individuals diagnosed with alcohol dependency and 20 healthy controls were administered a battery of cognitive tests, clinical scales and the shopping task. RESULTS Performance on the shopping task significantly differentiated patients and healthy controls for several variables and, in particular, for total time. Total time to complete the task correlated significantly with poor performance on measures of processing speed, verbal episodic memory, cognitive flexibility and inhibition. Total time was significantly correlated with poorer everyday life functioning and longer duration of illness. CONCLUSION This computerized task is a good proxy measure of the level of everyday life and cognitive functioning of persons diagnosed with alcohol dependency.