With lyrics by Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, this song is the second in his 5-part "Twelve-step Suite," which details his recovery through the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step program. This song covers steps 4 and 5, which Portnoy calls "Reflections of Reality (Revisited)" and "Release." In a 2010 Songfacts interview with Mike Portnoy
, he explained: "When I got sober 10 years ago, I decided I wanted to start writing songs about the 12 steps. And rather than just writing one song about everything, I had this idea of writing one song that was steps 1, 2 and 3, then the next album continue with the song that was step 4 and 5, and so on and so forth. And "The Shattered Fortress" off the latest album is the final chapter, which is steps 10, 11 and 12, and ultimately these five songs that have taken five albums to complete ultimately will fit together and they all have running common themes and melodies and riffs and lyrics, and it all ties together like one giant puzzle that hopefully we'll be playing live someday."