How my Candy Crush Addiction Destroyed my Life

Candy Crush graphic with swedish fish, hard candies, and a title New levels coming soon!

Photo courtesy of Candy Crush Saga

Candy Crush graphic with swedish fish, hard candies, and a title “New levels coming soon!”

Samantha Booher, Reporter

When most kids get their first iPod, usually all they use it for is texting their parents (only when on WiFi, of course) and playing stupid STUPID video games. To most kids, playing video games doesn’t even affect their mood, their friends, their relationships, or even their life in general. When I first downloaded a “stupid video game,” I had no idea the irreversible harm that would happen to me.

When I was younger, my dad played Candy Crush on his phone and sometimes would let me play a few rounds. I loved it. I knew that my iPod’s first game would be Candy Crush. I loved the idea of starting new on level one and being able to say that I had beat every single level.

As I started playing, I wanted to be able to say I made all the progress myself. I would be unstoppable, a Candy Crush god. When I would hang out with my friends, I would ignore them and go to play Candy Crush. They would ask to play a round sometimes, though. I immediately shut them down. I don’t remember myself being as defensive as I was at those moments before this forsaken game. My friends were scared of me, scared to even ask me simple questions. They stopped wanting to spend time with me and stopped talking to me in class, as I became consumed by my screen. I lost all my friends because of a stupid game.

It got to the point where I couldn’t trust anybody with my phone. Not because of the anxiety of someone reading my text conversations, seeing ugly accidental selfies, or even the poems I write in my notes app when someone breaks my heart. It was because I couldn’t risk anyone playing one of my levels or losing a life.

In Candy Crush, your turns are called lives, and each time you lose a life you have to wait 30 minutes for the life to restore. My loved ones can tell when I don’t have any lives on Candy Crush. It is almost like I lost a life myself. Part of me is gone, I lose passion for everything I’ve ever loved. Time moves in slow motion – those 30 minutes feel like 3 years in the desert. It became obvious that when I don’t have lives on Candy Crush, I turn into a different person.

There was one time when I went months without playing Candy Crush. I was happier. I wasn’t stressed. I made more friends and stronger relationships. I had gotten free from the game. But that freedom didn’t last long.

Sadly, I recently relapsed. One day I was on my phone and I got an ad for Candy Crush. Usually ads don’t tempt me but this ad was different. It was one of the ads that offered you the chance to try the game out. I thought to myself, well it’s just an interactive ad and it won’t make me want to re-download. I started playing and then next thing I knew I tapped it too many times and it took me to the App Store. I was face to face with the download button. I stared at it for what felt like a lifetime. I knew I couldn’t let myself fall back into this. I’d like to think my finger slipped but I know, in my heart, I actually wanted to click that button and play.

I was right back where I had been before I quit last time. I would tell myself “it’s just one round”,“just one more game”, and the next thing I know I haven’t left my room in days. I find myself either playing strategically when I have lives or staring blankly at the timer when I’ve run out.

Even though this has cost me so much, there is one positive thing that happened. I met someone who also loves Candy Crush like I do. We sit for hours playing in silence together. We never judge each other and accept our love of the game. I can’t really remember their name, or how we met, but the important thing is we both love the Crush.

I’m thankful I have this friend, because my parents and other friends have stopped trusting me. I even had an intervention for my addiction. I was walking to my kitchen to grab a snack and when I looked to my left I saw my friends and family sitting at my dining room table. I was confused, scared, and angry, but I gave them a chance to say what was on their minds. The few friends I still had left were threatening to not be my friend anymore. My parents threatened to take my phone away and even send me to a therapy group. I had to give in and tell them I would stop but everyone knows that in order to really stop YOU have to make that decision.

I still struggling with this decision but I ask myself every night before bed, “do I want to even get better or is this totally completely worth it?” It’s a lot to think about, you understand.

Maybe I should take a break from all this thinking and find something to do that will help me escape a little. Where did I leave my phone?