The 12 Steps Saga...
By Mike Portnoy
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become
The Glass Prison
Cunning, Baffling, Powerful, Been beaten to a pulp Vigorous, IrresistableSick and tired and laid low, Dominating, Invincible, Black-out, loss of control, Overwhelming, Unquenchable, I'm powerless, have to let go, I can't escape it
It leaves me frail and worn, Can no longer take it, Senses tattered and torn, Hopeless surrender
Obsession's got me beat, Losing the will to live, Admitting complete defeat, Fatal Descent, Spinning around, I've gone too far, To turn back round, Desperate attempt, Stop the progression, At any length, Lift this obsession, Crawling to my glass prison, A place where no one knows, My secret lonely world begins, So much safer here, A place where I can go, To forget about my daily sins, Life here in my glass prison, A place I once called home, Fall in nocturnal bliss again
Chasing a long lost friend, I no longer can control, Just waiting for this hopelessness to end
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to
Run - fast from the wreckage of the past, A shattered glass prison wall behind me, Fight - past walking through the ashes, A distant oasis before me, Cry - desperate crawling on my knees, Begging God to please stop the insanity, Help me - I'm trying to believe, Stop wallowing in my own self pity, "We've been waiting for you my friend, The writing's been on the wall, All it takes is a little faith, You know you're the same as us all", Help me - I can't break out this prison all alone, Save me - I'm drowning and I'm hopeless on my own, Heal me - I can't restore my sanity alone, Enter the door, Desperate, Fighting no more, Help me restore, To my sanity, At this temple of hope, I need to learn, Teach me how, Sorrow to burn, Help me return, To humanity, I'll be fearless and thorough, To enter this temple of hope, Believe, Transcend the pain, Living the life, Humility, Opened my eyes, This new odyssey, Of rigorous honesty, Serenity, I never knew, Soundness of mind, Helped me to find, Courage to change, All the things that I can, "We'll help you perform this miracle, But you must set your past free, You dug the hole, but you can't bury your sole, Open your mind and you'll see", Help me - I can't break out this prison all alone, Save me - I'm drowning and I'm hopeless on my own, Heal me - I can't restore my sanity alone
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we
Way off in the distance I saw a door, I tried to open, I tried forcing with all of my will and still, The door wouldn't open
[replaced with "but" in this line], Unable to trust in my faith, I turned and walked away, I looked around, felt a chill in the air, Took my will and turned it over, The glass prison which once held me is now gone, ["now" is not heard in this line], A long lost fortress, Armed only with liberty, And the key of my willingness, Fell down on my knees and prayed
"Thy will be done", I turned around, saw a light shining through, The door was wide open
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
[Lyrics by Mike Portnoy]
[IV. Reflections of Reality (Revisited)]
Hello, Mirror - so glad to see you my friend, it's been a while, Searching, Fearless - where do I begin to heal this wound of self-denial, Face yourself man!, Brace yourself and trace your hell back, You've been blinded, living lie a one way cold existence all the while, Now it's time to stare the problem right between the eyes you long lost child, I wanna feel your body breaking, Wanna feel your body breaking and shaking and left in the cold, I want to heal your conscience making a change o fix this dying soul, Born into this world a broken home, Surrounded by love yet all alone
Forced into a life that's split in two, A mother and a father both pulling you, Then you had to deal with loss and death
Everybody thinking they know best, Coping with this shit at such an age, Can only fill a kid with pain and rage, Family disease pumped through your blood, Never had the chance you thought you could, Running all the while with no escape, Turning all that pain in to blame and hate, Living on your own by twenty one, Not a single care and having fun
Consuming all the life in front of you, Burning out the fuse and smoking the residue, Possessive obsessions selfish childish games, Vengeful resentments, Passing all the blame, Living out a life of decadence, Acing without thought of consequence, Spreading all your lies from coast to coast, While spitting on the ones that matter most, Running power mad with no control, Fighting for the credit they once stole, No one can ever tell you what to do, Ruling other's lives while the can't stand the thought of you, A living reflection seen from miles away, A hopeless affliction having run astray, I wanna feel your body breaking, Wanna feel your body breaking and shaking and left in the cold, I want to heal your conscience making a change o fix this dying soul, Now that you can see all you have done, It's time to take that step into the kingdom, All your sins will only make you strong, And help you break right through the prison wall
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature
of our wrongs.
Come to me my friend (Listen to me), I'll help this torture end (Help to set me free), Let your ego go (I can't carry this load), You can't go through this alone (I feel so hopeless and exposed), You'll find your peace of mind (Give me some direction), You can no longer hide (Break out of this isolation), Let humility (Openness, honesty), And become what you can be (A healing tranquility), Help me, Save me, Heal me, I can't break out of this prison all alone, These tormenting ghosts of yesterday, Will vanish when exposed, You can't hold onto your secrets, They'll only send you back alone, Your fearless admissions, Will help expel your destructive obsessions, With my help I know you can
Be at one with God and man, Hear me, Believe me, Take me, I'm ready to break right through this prison wall
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
The Root Of All Evil
[Music: Dream Theater, Lyrics: Mike Portnoy]
Proud enough for you to call me arrogant, Greedy enough to be labeled a thief, Angry enough for me to go and hurt a man, Cruel enough for me to feel no grief, Never could have just a part of it, I always need more to get by, Getting right down to the heart of it, The root of all evil has been running my whole life, Dirty enough for me to lust, Leaving nothing left to trust, Jealous enough to still feel envious, Lazy enough to sleep all day, And let my life just waste away
Selfish enough to make you wait for me, Driven blindly by our sins, Misled so easily, Entirely ready to leave it behind
I'm begging to break free, Take all of me, The desires that keep burning deep inside, Cast them all away, And help to give me strength to face another day, I am ready, Help me be what I can be
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Self-centered fear has got a hold of me, Clutching my throat, Self righteous anger running all through me
Ready to explode, Procrastination paralyzing me, Wanting me dead, These obsessions that keep haunting me
Won't leave my head, Help to do for me what I can't do myself, Take this fear and pain, I can't break out this prison all alone, Help me break these chains, Humility now my only hope, Won't you take all of me, Heal this dying soul, I can feel my body breaking, I can feel my body breaking, I'm ready to let it all go, I can feel my body shaking, Right down to the foundation, The root of it all, Take all of me, The desires that keep burning deep inside, Cast it all away
And help to give me strength to face another day, I am ready, Help me what I can be, I am ready, Come to me, Take me away
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make
amends to them all.
[Music: Dream Theater / Lyrics: Mike Portnoy]
Hello, mirror, so glad to see you my friend, It's been a while..., Staring at the empty page before me, All the years of wreckage running through my head, Patterns of my life I thought adorned me, Revealing hurtful shame and deep lament, Overwhelming sorrow now absorbs me, As the pen begins to trace my darkest past, Signs throughout my life
that should have warned me, Of all the wrongs I've done for which I must repent, I once thought it better to regret, Things that I have done than haven't, Sometimes you've got to be wrong, And learn the hard way, And sometimes you've got to be strong, When you think it's too late, Staring at the finished page before me, All the damage now so clear and evident, Thinking about the dreaded task in store for me, A pit of fear at the thought of my amends, Hoping that this step will help restore me, To face my past and ask for forgiveness, Cleaning up my dirty side of this unswept street, Could this be the beginning of the end?, I once thought it better to regret, Things that I have done than haven't
Sometimes you've got to be wrong, And learn the hard way, And just when you're through hanging on, You're saved
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do
so would injure them or others.
"Until that moment, I'd never felt like I'd failed at anything...And I felt like I failed her...And I failed myself, and I failed my children...It's still really hard to deal with.", "I want to thank you for helping me to see my own selfishness and to tell you how regretful I am it has hurt you.", "I'm sorry I didn't visit you in the hospital, Grandpa when you were on your deathbed. I'm sorry I didn't come to your funeral...I don't know if I was selfish or just too scared to face it. It's one of the biggest regrets of my life.", "I'm here to confess with you that what I did, was wrong... And I'm asking for your forgiveness...", "The only unforgivable thing hauls itself out of bed, looks over my shoulder at the bloody English weather...","I really regret not being able to see my friend Andy...", "One of my best friends who's the godfather of my daughter, he asked me to sing or play something at his wedding, and I turned it down because I was busy and too much of a chicken shit to do it...And I feel sorry for that, because it was a very very close friend of mine...", "So, I wanted to apologize to anyone that I've upset or offended.. they're just words, it's just an opinion, but unfortunately, I tend to express it as a fact, and that's kind of arrogant. Isn't it?", "I think it's the betrayal...it still haunts me.", "I'm sorry for what I did back then... I was a different person. I really was and I'm so sorry. I wish it wouldn't have happened, but it did, and I'm sorry. Forgive me. I'm sorry...", "I guess I'm simply sorry for being me and not you. I so often wish you could be here with me to show me the way...", If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through., We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness., We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it., We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace., No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others., That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear., We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows., Self seeking will slip away., Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change., Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us., We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us., We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves., Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them., "You're only as sick as your secrets, but the truth shall set you free..."
"The truth is the truth and the only thing you can do is to live with it."
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly
The Shattered Fortress
[Music by Petrucci, Portnoy, Rudess and Myung, Lyrics by Mike Portnoy]
Freedom calls my name, Serenity keeps me sane, Happiness -- it dulls the pain, Honest to see my place, Open to other ways, Willingness to understand, Justice but do not judge, Courtesy for others' flaws, Kindness -- it's not that hard, Self-restraint of tongue and pen, Inventory -- my daily friend, Analysis let down your guard, Look in the mirror
What do you see?, The shattered fortress, That once bound me, Faithful ascent, through darkest fires
I've found the path to take me higher, You're smart enough for me to trust go live your life now
Just keep these steps in your life and you'll know how, If you're not sure, ask yourself, "Have I done to them as I would have them do to me?", Look in the mirror, What's that you see?, The shattered fortress, Fly now be free, Faithful ascent, through darkest fires, I've found the path to take me higher, I once thought it better to be right
But now I have finally seen the light, Sometimes you've got to be wrong, And learn from mistakes, I live with serenity now, Not self-righteous hate
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with
God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us
and the power to carry that out.
(Help me be a channel of Thy peace, That where there is hatred, I may bring love;, That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;, That where there is discord, I may bring harmony;, That where there is error, I may bring truth;, That where there is doubt, I may bring faith), Now that you can see all you have done, (That where there is despair, I may bring hope;, That where there are shadows, I may bring light), It's time to take that step into the kingdom, (That where there is sadness, I may bring joy), All your sins will help to make you strong, (That I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted., That I may seek to understand than to be understood), And help you break right through the prison wall, (That I may seek to love, rather than to be loved, for it is by self-forgetting that one finds, it is by forgiving that one is forgiven), Keep all of me, The desires that once burned me deep inside
Help me live today, And help to give me grace, To carry out your ways, I am ready, help me be all I can be
I am ready, help guide me and keep me free
had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to
carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our