It all started out innocently enough.

I was watching a movie at home with my wife, and she was in the middle of working on a cross-stitch. I, for some unknown reason, felt that I needed something to do with my hands.

Usually in this situation, I whip out my phone and just putz around. But that night, I felt the urge to play a game. I’m pretty picky about games, so I don’t want something I have to pay insane levels of attention to – just something to mindlessly pass the time.

After perusing the charts of popular Android games, I glanced at the #1 game and hit the “Download” button.

Candy Crush.

Since that fateful night, I’ve been sucked into an endless rabbit hole of striped candies, growing chocolate infestations, and sprinkled candy domination.

Last night, I played Level 254. And then I uninstalled it from my phone.

Here’s why…

I need more mindFULness, not less

Mindless putzing is a problem for me, and one that causes more harm than it’s worth.

When I’m not paying attention to my body and mind, I find myself more unhappy, more stressed, more annoyed, and feeling like garbage. But if I am listening to my body, I’m making adjustments. I’m existing. I’m letting my brain do some work for a change.

I’m paying attention to the world around me, and that’s a good thing to be doing.

I’ve found my mood improves when I’m in between “episodes”. I disconnect my Facebook account and play the “quests” to unlock the next episode – each of which require a 24-hour waiting period between levels. Those 24 hours are great, because I have no choice but to NOT play Candy Crush. It’s incredibly freeing.

I want to get more reading done

One of the littlest-used benefits of being a Kindle user is the ability to sync my reading progress on a book across devices. Here’s how it works:

  • I buy a Kindle book and send it to my actual Kindle device for long-term reading.
  • As I read, I leave the Wi-Fi connection on my device.
  • I finish reading for the night, switch it off, and go to bed.
  • The next day, as I’m in a waiting room or the bathroom, or wherever a little reading could come in handy, I pull out my phone and open my Kindle app.
  • When I click on my current book, the app will ask if I want to go to the last page I read on my Kindle device.
  • I click “OK”, then instantly continue reading where I left off the previous night.
  • That evening, when I pick up my Kindle device again and turn it on, it will ask me if I want to go to the last page I read on my phone.
  • I click “OK”, and instantly continue reading.

I told myself I would read 25 books in 2013, and I’m not even to 20 yet. By eliminating Candy Crush, I’m giving myself more opportunities to get a little reading done on my phone when I need to kill some time.

I’ve spent more money than I want to on this game… and I’ll wind up spending more

Candy Crush is purely designed to make you spend money. Some of the levels are just impossible enough that you spend a couple weeks trying to beat a level only to come up one or two moves short.

What’s that? I can buy 5 more moves for only 99 cents?

I’ve probably spent about $3 total on Candy Crush. But even then – it bothers me that a free game is going to keep making me spend money to get ahead. That’s the last thing I want to do. I’d rather spend money to support a cause or get access to an awesome service – not on a pointless game.

I want to sleep better

My wife is guilty of this. So am I. If you play Candy Crush, so are you (probably).

You curl up in bed and are about to go to sleep when you decide to play a level of Candy Crush. One level turns into five. Then, you set your clock 12 hours ahead, collect 5 more lives, turn the clock back to normal, and repeat.

Suddenly it’s after midnight and you’re wired.

When I’m in bed, I want to avoid screens at all costs. I find that screens of any brightness tend to keep me awake and don’t allow me to drift off to sleep. Sitting in bed trying to crush candies doesn’t let me sleep any better.

It’s endless

This isn’t a game you “beat”.

There are 500 levels, and they are developing more. I’ve been playing for months and I got to level 254.

I don’t want to play an endless game. I want to beat it and move on. That doesn’t look like a feasible reality, so I want to be out. Otherwise, I’m tied to this game forever.

So, in conclusion, I wash my hands of it. Others can play, and I hope they enjoy it, I really do. But I’m out. It is just too addictive, and I don’t want to be in a situation where I feel I am losing control of my conscious actions.

Do you play Candy Crush? Are you experiencing any of the same symptoms I’ve dealt with? What do you think?