Make-up artist Criss Scortezz opens up about his alcohol addiction during lockdown

‘Boredom’ drove Criss Scortezz down to two liters of spirits every day Sydney‘s strict 100-day Covid shutdown.

In September 2021, it got to the point where the 25-year-old make-up artist would wake up, roll out of bed and pour herself a glass at 8am.

But he told himself he didn’t have a problem because he didn’t hide his alcohol dependence.

“I never thought anything about it, I never stopped myself or questioned it,” Criss told FEMAIL.

Criss said his ‘craving’ for alcohol had complete control over him and eventually he became unable to function on a daily basis without drinking.

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Criss Cortezz (pictured) would tell himself a series of lies and excuses to justify his drinking habits during Sydney's 100-day Covid lockdown last year

Criss Cortezz (pictured) would tell himself a series of lies and excuses to justify his drinking habits during Sydney’s 100-day Covid lockdown last year

The 24-year-old makeup artist (pictured left) would drink 2 liters of liquor daily out of 'boredom', but he never questioned his actions.  In September 2021 it got to the point where he woke up, rolled out of bed and poured himself a glass at

The 24-year-old makeup artist (pictured left) would drink 2 liters of liquor daily out of ‘boredom’, but he never questioned his actions. In September 2021 it got to the point where he woke up, rolled out of bed and poured himself a glass at

When the shutdown began in late June of last year, Criss said he quickly got bored being stuck at home with no one to talk to as his family members were essential workers and out of the house.

‘I was just thinking [drinking] It was a good way to pass the time, then it was all about getting a drink,” he said.

‘I’ve never used alcohol to try to “escape” from anything, that’s why it took me so long to realize I had a drinking problem.’

Criss only drank spirits instead of wine because it didn’t make him feel so bad the following day.

His crippling habit continued for six months.

At first he consumed a 2L bottle of alcohol every five days – but over time the drinking slowly increased to consume the huge amount daily.

Strangely, he never felt sick, had almost no hangover the following morning, and was able to mask his behavior to others.

‘I don’t know how I never had to go to the hospital. I don’t know how I’m alive,’ he recalled.

Criss said he would tell himself ‘you’re just bored’, ‘you don’t have a problem because you’re not trying to hide anything’ and ‘you still go out and do things’ to justify his habits.

“I had fun and enjoyed myself – I was never sad and that was enough to keep drinking,” he said.

“My mind told myself that if I’m awake, I should drink.”

After losing weight in 2019, he gained 50 kg in four months due to his excessive drinking.

Not only did his addiction affect him physically and mentally, it also took a toll on his bank account – he would spend $910 a week, or $3640 a month, on booze.

‘A bottle was about $65 and I would buy two at a time; When I was able to, I would go into the bottle shop at different times of the day so the staff wouldn’t notice me or I would get it delivered, he said.

‘It really took a toll on my bank account and my savings.’

Criss (pictured left) only drank spirits instead of wine because it didn't make him feel so bad the following day.  His crippling habit continued for six months

Criss (pictured left) only drank spirits instead of wine because it didn’t make him feel so bad the following day. His crippling habit continued for six months

Criss first recognized that he had a drinking problem when he started looking for alcohol at home, not realizing that he had already drunk it all.

“It hit me when I realized I was going through 2 liters of liquor a day and wanted to buy more,” he said.

‘The feeling of knowing I was going to have one more bottle and was happy with it was enough for me to realize and think “okay, this is a real problem”.’

But it still took time for Criss to change his habits.

“Then I wasn’t drinking that much – I was only drinking half the amount I was, which is still a lot,” he said.

Criss (pictured) first recognized he had a drinking problem when he started looking for alcohol at home, not realizing he had already drunk it all.  Last December, he turned to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for help

Criss (pictured) first recognized he had a drinking problem when he started looking for alcohol at home, not realizing he had already drunk it all. Last December, he turned to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for help

Criss slowly began to drink less over time. So last December, feeling incredibly nauseous after one drink one day, he turned to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

During each one-hour online AA meeting, he would have open conversations with others who also had a problem with alcohol, and felt comforted knowing he was surrounded by people who knew exactly how he felt.

Criss said that whenever he felt like drinking, he would join an online meeting to help curb it. He also found medical cannabis helped with cravings.

In February 2022, he stopped drinking completely for three and a half months before ‘accidentally’ relapsing.

He said he was at an event and mistakenly believed the drinks were served with non-alcoholic.

‘My friend came up to me and said “what are you drinking?” and I assured her it’s a mocktail. But she said they weren’t, Criss said.

After his relapse, he had a period of drinking alcohol again once a week.

But for the past four weeks he has remained completely sober.

Criss encouraged others struggling with alcohol addiction to seek help.

“It’s not embarrassing, it’s the best thing you’ll ever do,” he said.

click here to visit Alcoholics Anonymous or call Lifeline on 13 11 14

Australian alcohol guidelines to reduce health risks:

Guideline 1: Reducing the risk of alcohol-related harm for adults

To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury, healthy men and women should drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than four standard drinks in a day

The less you drink, the lower the risk of damage from alcohol

Guideline 2: Children and persons under the age of 18

To reduce the risk of injury and other health damage, children and people under the age of 18 should not drink alcohol

Guideline 3: Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding

To prevent harm from alcohol to their unborn baby, women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should not drink alcohol

For women who are breastfeeding, it is safest for their baby not to drink alcohol

The guidelines are set to reduce health risks

Source: nhmrc.gov.au

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