I put the thread title in quotes only because I, unlike many people with this addiction, do not have many real life "obligations". I do know that my life/existence itself is something "to lose", but that is a little beyond the scope of what that phrase usually entails.
Let me tell you a little but about myself. I am a 25 year old white American male. I have above average intelligence, I am not overweight, and I come from a loving, upper middle class family. I do not have a degree, but only because I have not found my calling yet. Unfortunately, I'm a bit of an under-achiever, which explains a lot about my real life and how I treat the game. I am also depressed, but not to the point of being suicidal, or needing medication. I also have an addiction to World of Warcraft.
I have been playing this game off and on for about 4 years now. I am by no means a hardcore player, and I really have no desire to be the "best of the best", but I do put in a lot of time into the game regardless. So let my clarify: I couldn't care any less about endgame, about having a full set of epics, about Tier gear, about Arena ranks, etc. The reason I play is not to "make connections with like minded people", nor is it to "achieve digital greatness". I do not alter my sleep schedule to raid; hell, I'm not even in a guild, period.
I play the game to level characters, and that is it. I play alone, for the most part. The only thing I share with other addictive players, casual or not, is that I play the game to give me an escape from the real world. It is something to do for hours on end. Mindless, almost. I play simply because I have nothing better to do; or at least that's what that addiction wants me to believe.
Fortunately, I have not bought Cataclysm, and do not have an active subscription. I am able to play currently only because of a 10 day trial, which expires soon. I am glad it is ending soon. I like to tell myself that willpower is the reason I have not resubscribed and purchased the newest expansion, but I'm afraid all it really is, is me not having the financial means. I am afraid that when I do get the financial means, I will be compelled to resubscribe and purchase Cataclysm.
Unfortunately, what I have just realized, is that I truly have nothing to lose in both the material world AND the game world. In the real world, I don't have a job, don't go to school, don't have a significant other, and don't have any dependents. I did not have and then lose those things because of the game, either. I am working on again acquiring the former two, but have no plans to start on the latter two any time soon. What I'm trying to say is, there is currently nothing for this addiction to destroy or take from me.
In the game world, because I am so "casual", there also is nothing to lose. Sure, I have a level 80 paladin, but even when I played yesterday, there was no joy in it. It was still mindless, and I was aware of that as I was playing. In the past, I have deleted characters on a whim, simply because I was bored or tired of them. Still, I am encouraged by this behavior because it proves that I do not have any "attachment" to these characters, but the attachment to the game is still there. I am currently trying to sell the account, but I am finding it harder to do that I thought.
In closing, I think I am "better off" than a lot of other WoW addicts, but it is still something I have a problem with, and is something want to be rid of.
I'm glad I found this site.