You may recognize the gorgeous Nico Tortorella from Younger, where he plays Josh, Liza Miller’s 26-year-old boyfriend. But contrary to his TV persona, Tortorella is more than just a piece of eye candy.
In a recent essay penned by the actor for The Berry, the 28-year-old who’s originally from Wilmette, Illinois, discussed his hardships with alcohol addiction and how he got sober. On January 13, 2017, Tortorella will be two years clean.
“I have an ex-boyfriend who almost killed me,” he begins, personifying the substance. “I loved him more than anything in the whole world. We spent a decade together… Not a single day goes by that I don’t think about him. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss him. He made me a happy man for so long, until he didn’t. He was electric, high voltage, still is. An escape. A poison that once ran through my veins. No one person to blame.”
Tortorella describes his first encounter with alcohol as a kid, explaining that nearly everyone in his family was a drinker. “I literally grew up in a bar,” he reveals, “it was the family business.” But it wasn’t until his senior year of high school that his addiction started to takeover.
Aside from getting arrested twice, Tortorella also knew he had a problem when he accidentally swallowed a bottle cap while drunk. But as Tortorella explains, “there were more good times than bad up to this point.” When he started to get acting roles and entered Hollywood, things only got worse.
“My ex-boyfriend was different in Hollywood,” he explains. “He was suddenly famous. Flashier than ever. Bottle service in clubs, so many celebrations, a way of life. He was best friends with everyone that was anyone. And if everyone loved him as much as I did, what was the problem? Two nights a week quickly turned into six, seven, f*ck, sometimes eight.”
He continues, “I’ve hurt myself, contemplated suicide, and had some of the best nights of my life. That’s his problem, one minute he’s the sexiest person in the world. Statuesque. The next you want him dead.”
After ten years of alcohol abuse, Tortorella explains that he ended the relationship on January 13, 2015 and turned to literature, friends, fitness and love to help get him through dark spots. After a year of being sober, he made reference to how far he’d come on Instagram.
“Today. today is a very special day for me. today i am one year sober from alcohol. today i am home in my body. today i am safe in my mind. today alcohol will not hurt me. today i will not hurt myself. today i am free. today i will not hide. today i am truly vulnerable. today if you or anyone you know is fighting addiction please stand up. today be free. today i am loved. today i am brave. today i love deeply. today i am more the person ive always wanted to be. today i am proud. today i am me. #niconiconico,” the post read.
But Tortorella ends things on a high note, explaining that alcohol might have helped him discover the worst version of himself, but he also wouldn’t be where he is today without it. Read the full essay on The Berry and check out his photos below.