From the March 2011 magazine.

Around the World With a Bottle

After years of booze, jails and despair, an American gets sober in Portugal

“To get sober” was certainly not the reason I bought a ruined farmhouse in the Algarve Province of Portugal. Instead, it looked like a good place to drink. Isolated and in disrepair for 20 years. It was just like me.

I was born in California, an only child. My father's side of the family had a history of alcoholism dating back to the mid-1800s when four brothers immigrated from Wales. His parents did not drink nor allow it in the house. None of their children were interested in this idea, however. We don't know how my father would have handled alcohol, as he died during an operation when he was in his late 20s. But his sisters drank alcoholically and one of them died before middle-age; the other sister spent time in a state mental institution by court order.

-- Jerry S.

St. Petersburg, Florida

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