KENTWOOD, MI—Two years after making the decision to quit drinking once and for all, local man and recovering alcoholic Julian Bradford, 35, told reporters Monday he now realizes that he doesn’t need friends to have a good time.
“For so long, I thought that hanging out with my friends was the only way for me to have any fun, but it turns out I can have just as great a time without them,” said Bradford, who according to sources hasn’t had a drink or a night out with his buddies since 2012. “It was tough at first, but now that alcohol’s out of my life, I finally understand that I don’t need companionship to keep myself entertained. Now, I can have a perfectly enjoyable evening, by myself, watching TV, all without having so much as a single friend.”
“The sad thing is, I came to rely on being with friends every night, and that led me down the wrong path,” he continued. “I didn’t see it then—or maybe I just didn’t want to see it—but those pals were terrible for me. And realizing I can live a happy life without them around is the greatest feeling in the world.”
A longtime alcoholic, Bradford reportedly made the decision to end his dependence on friendship after years of wild nights on the town, at which point the local electrical supply salesman ceased drinking and engaging in group activities of any kind. Bradford confirmed that with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in which he spent an hour every other day sitting in a church basement with a group of complete strangers, he was gradually able to wean himself off of his decades-long friendships that had taken a toll on his life and left him devastated.
Bradford told reporters he has since come to understand that it’s no longer necessary for him to have a friend by his side at all times to enjoy a baseball game or a movie, saying that giving up camaraderie was the best decision he has ever made.
“Of course I still think about socializing from time to time, but whenever I get tempted to make a phone call to Andy or Dave—even just one little text—I put my phone away and go for a walk alone to settle my mind,” Bradford said. “I remind myself that just one night with them is all it would take to bring me back to that old social life I don’t want. And if I hang out with one bud, I just know I’d end up hanging out with a bunch, and I know exactly where that would lead me.”
According to Bradford, at his worst he would sometimes see his friends before noon or even meet up with them during his lunch break at work, saying that for several years he fraternized every day of the week. Looking back, Bradford said he deeply disliked the person he became when he joked around with friends, noting that he was often extremely loud and obnoxious, and that he’s happy to now enjoy more quiet pursuits like reading and listening to music alone in his one-bedroom apartment.
The unmarried man told reporters that he was able to quit friendship “cold turkey,” and has not so much as attended a single housewarming party since going clean. Today, Bradford, who no longer touches beer, wine, or liquor, said he has no regrets about giving up his past life of summer barbecues, recreational softball leagues, and nights relaxing with friends in his living room.
“For a while, it seemed like I was spending every single moment partying and screwing around with the guys,” said Bradford, who noted that he now actively avoids any group outings or social situations in which he may come in contact with his former buddies. “Honestly, it got to the point where I couldn’t go a day without spending time with at least one friend; and you’d often find me in my basement kicking back with as many as 10 or 12 of them in one evening. Hell, sometimes I’d pass out on the couch surrounded by my buds and then start hanging out with them the second I woke up the next morning.”
“I finally realized that if I didn’t stop spending all my time with these people, I’d probably end up doing it for the rest of my life,” he added.
While Bradford asserted that his life is vastly improved now that he has freed himself from his deep-rooted reliance on friendship, the nondrinker acknowledged to reporters the importance of remaining disciplined in avoiding the temptations of companionship, claiming that, as someone who was predisposed to enjoying long, crazy nights spent living it up with his friends, he continues to be at risk of falling off the wagon and returning to his old habits of being social.
“I’ve heard the horror stories about people who think they can handle just one concert or trip to the beach, and before you know it, they’re back to their former ways, spending an entire weekend with their old pals like they used to,” the recovering alcoholic said. “But that’s the last thing I want to happen to me.”
“And as long as I stay away from booze,” he continued, “I’m confident I’ll never run into my old friends ever again.”