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No, I’m not addicted to drugs or alcohol (though I’m sure the latter could sometimes be debated). Instead, I am an addict of something far more habit-forming: Candy Crush.

A few months ago, KB downloaded the game onto her phone. I usually only have one game on my phone at a time in an attempt to avoid multiple time-killing distractions; back then, my poison of choice was online poker.

Now, I didn’t play a ton of pokeronly for a few minutes at a time—and I only played it when I literally had nothing better to do. I’d play a few hands while I walked Mr. Fabulous, while I waited for a meeting to start, or, yes, while sitting on the toilet. Still, online poker never monopolized my life. I didn’t make time to play it; I simply burned what would otherwise be wasted time with it.

KB got addicted to the candy-swapping madness early on and soon started hinting that I should download the game as well. While she played, she’d say little things like, “I think you’d really like this game,” and, “I’ll show you how to play if you download it.” But hidden beneath those seemingly innocent remarks was the truth: “I am an addict, and I think you should become an addict as well so I don’t feel so horrible about myself.”

It’s kind of like when an alcoholic buys the first round, or when a crackhead offers up that first hit for free. After you accept, it’s like, “I smoke crack! You smoke crack! Now we’re in this toxic shit together! High-five!” Because, you know, when everyone is a crackhead, it’s kind of like no one is a crackhead.

To be honest, I was perfectly content with my time-murderer of online poker, but when a glitch in the game caused all of my $1 million+ bank to disappear over the span of four shitty hands, I soon found myself desperate for a new game.

And so I made the decision to download Candy Crush.

KB was happy. I was happier.

Right out of the gate, I was hauling ass. I was getting three, four, five candies in a row. Swapping two striped candies together? No problem. A striped with a wrapped candy? All in a day’s work! Two multi-colored, whatever-the-fuck-they’re-called candies together? That shit is for candy amateurs!

I was a master. I became convinced that I was good enough to play in the Candy Crush Olympics… should one ever decide to organize something so stupid.

Within a couple weeks, I had passed KB. Soon after, Candy Crush was taking up all of my free time. The stack of magazines on the back of our toilet grew higher and higher. I barely paid attention to traffic while out with Fab, walking out into the street as if the Sugar Rush would protect me. To add insult to injury, the giant stack of books on my nightstand started to collect dust.

And that’s when it hit me: I wasn’t just using my free time to play this stupid-ass game; I was making time to play it.

Now, sure, we all have guilty pleasures that eat up our precious time. For some, it’s reality television. For others, it’s daytime naps. But for me, it was Candy Crush. And that was okay for awhile, but when it started to keep me from reading books—books that contained actual, real information and knowledge—I decided it was time to put an end to the madness.

It had all been fun and games… up until the moment I realized that, by keeping me from reading, Candy Crush was actually making me dumber.

By the time I decided to get clean, I was stuck on Level 199. I told myself I’d play for two more levels. (“I’ll quit after just one more hit, man!”) It wouldn’t take that long to achieve; and besides, 200 seemed like a nice round number to go out on. Having OCD will do that to you.

My rockbottom.

The next day, I passed 200… with one star, which kind of sucks, but whatever.

My last hit... with one star.

It was over. I quickly deleted the game without a second thought. KB even took a photo of me doing it to document my first step toward sobriety.

Free at last!

That stack of books next to my bed is now dusted off and being read. Some people take their recovery one day at a time; I’m taking mine one book at a time.

I’m not proud of my addiction, but at least I never spent a penny on it. I never bought extra moves or gummy fish or whatever the hell else they sell. The only thing it ever took away from me was my time.

A whole shitload of time. God, how I wish I could have it back.

Four days clean,

-Shady

PS: KB was my pusher into the world of Candy Crush, but apparently I was her savior out of it. Right after I deleted my app, she did the same. Our apartment is now officially Candy Crush-free.

I wish.

…but something tells me my Hands Won/Played and Win Ratio are inaccurate.

Winning more than I play,

-Shady

Old Poop!