After his time on Ervin’s farm, Saul begins to drink even more. He understands that alcohol is killing him, even though he feels as if he needs it to survive.
Saul knows he’s sick, but doesn’t have the ability to help himself. This, of course, is what defines alcoholism: alcoholics have an addiction that they can’t shake, not because of a lack of willpower or moral strength, but because their bodies have become dependent on alcohol.
Saul tries to stop drinking entirely. He winds up getting seizures—a symptom of withdrawal—and has to go to the hospital. In the hospital, he experiences vivid hallucinations, and is unable to eat any solid food for seven days. Some of the social workers in the hospital direct him to the New Dawn Center. They add that if Saul keeps drinking, he could die. Saul reluctantly agrees to give the facility a try.
At this point, the narrative has nearly come full-circle: this is about the point where readers met Saul at the beginning of the novel.