It is interesting to note that he believes he and his siblings caught the ‘alcohol’ gene from his mother, and it does show how much our drinking can influence our own children. In some cases such as mine, the drinking is part of every day fun and so it becomes the norm to walk around in an alcoholic haze. If there is such a thing as an alcohol gene, I certainly got mine from my Mum. It is only later you realise the damage being caused. For others, the violence associated with a parent’s drinking can make the child hate alcohol and all it stands for.
I hadn’t realised that Gerald Durrell died as a result of alcohol. He had a liver transplant aged 69 and then died a year later from septicaemia. Suffering with alcohol-induced liver failure his later years must have been very difficult for him, and as my brother died from the same disease, I know he would have secretly wished he had never spent all those years drinking. Being over 60 myself, it is sobering to think that had I even still been alive, I might also be suffering had I still been drinking and now counting down the days until I too say goodbye to all I hold dear.
Purely from a health perspective, the time to quit alcohol forever is when you are still healthy enough to recover from the damage you have been doing, not to leave it until you pass the point of no return.
Of course, there are a myriad other reasons to quit, most of the benefits of which you won’t appreciate until you experience the joy and freedom from escaping alcohol’s barbed embrace.
Gerald wrote the following words to go into a time capsule he buried at Jersey Zoo:
‘We hope that there will be fireflies and glow-worms at night to guide you and butterflies in hedges and forests to greet you.
We hope that your dawns will have an orchestra of bird song and that the sound of their wings and the opalescence of their colouring will dazzle you.
We hope that there will still be the extraordinary varieties of creatures sharing the land of the planet with you to enchant you and enrich your lives as they have done for us.
We hope that you will be grateful for having been born into such a magical world.’
Such wonderful words of hope for the future, what a shame he allowed his time on this wonderful planet to be cut short due to alcohol. Why not write down what words you would place in a time capsule and, think about your own time being cut short through something you can change today if you really put your mind to it.