Following 17+ years of sobriety, Mike Portnoy remembered the days of his struggle with alcoholism, telling The Fix:
“I was probably as much of a ‘responsible’ alcoholic as you’ll find.
“It was always, at least in the early days, something that I kept concealed, and I tried to delegate it to an end of the night kind of thing.
“I was never a day drinker or drugger because I could never function responsibly that way.
“At the end of the show, that’s when I would crack open my first drink, and I would go until I’d pass out at four in the morning each night, usually in the privacy of my home or my tour bus.
“Then it went from not drinking until after the show to not drinking until the encore, to not drinking until the keyboard solo, to not drinking until the opening band went on… it kept getting earlier and earlier.”
Remembering a Dream Theater show in Texas where he was completely drunk onstage, Mike noted:
“I went on a rant on the microphone, and I remember I even stumbled on a drum part on our song ‘Pull Me Under,’ which I’d played a thousand times.
“That was a song I could do in my sleep.
“My wife carried me out to the bus after the show, and it was one of those moments of clarity where I realized it started to seep into my personal and professional life.
“I never used to play fucked up. Towards the end I did, and that’s when I knew I’d crossed the line.”