Having been through rehab, Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy wrote this song detailing the first three steps of conquering alcohol addiction according to the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program. It's the first in a series of five Dream Theater songs known as "The Twelve-step Suite" that Portnoy wrote. The others are:
"This Dying Soul" about steps 4 and 5 from the album Train Of Thought
"The Root Of All Evil" about steps 6 and 7 from Octavarium
"Repentance" about steps 8 and 9 from Systematic Chaos
"The Shattered Fortress
" about steps 10-12 from Black Clouds & Silver Linings
In a 2010 Songfacts interview with Mike Portnoy
, he talked about being fortunate to escape alcoholism alive, and the struggles he faced watching fellow musicians like Paul Gray of Slipknot and The Rev from Avenged Sevenfold succumb to their addictions. Said Portnoy: "I feel horrible, because I understand the disease and how dangerous it is, and if you're an addict or an alcoholic, like I am, the writing's on the wall. You can't live that kind of lifestyle and live a long, happy life."