Maybe my package had been intercepted by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Good, I thought. Maybe they'll be able to get me off this stupid homemade junk.I sat there for less than a minute. Maybe I sat there for an hour; I don't know. But something had to be done. I stuck some Klonopin under my tongue and drove to the post office, expecting to turn myself in. Give up. Take the 15 years, if they would just give me the fix. But the door was stuck. I pushed, pulled. It wouldn't budge. No, it was locked. Closed for Columbus Day.Columbus Day. No wonder everyone hated him. That tabard-wearing bastard had been dead for 500 years and was still causing trouble.I took a dozen allergy pills to make me drowsy but couldn't sleep. I lay awake in bed for the next two days before the shipment finally arrived. The postman had decided to make a long weekend out of the cheap-ass holiday.I should've stayed in bed and ridden it out. I had put a price on my head in the form of a box-a-day addiction but already had endured the worst part of the withdrawal: the first 48 hours. But then the box arrived, and I was a helpless slave. I ripped it open by its pull string and dumped a dozen poppy pods onto the bed, trying to eat one whole. I then made a quick, crude tea, drank it and started to feel a rabid glow of health return in seconds.What had all the fuss been about?In better days, I used to crack the dried poppy pods over the blender like eggs, little rivulets of blue-black seeds rushing out as I shattered the crowned pods. Sometimes, I'd commandeer the kitchen and make a big production out of the whole thing, as though I was hosting some kind of lowbrow cooking show, doing stupid cockney accents while explaining the preparation process to the viewers.Start with a clean, chemical-free stock of dried poppy pods. Pulverize in a blender and scald with water. Don't boil. Don't burn. Don't vaporize. Just scald. Blend on low for about a minute, and then add a dash of lemon juice to taste. Add a cup of fine, aged brandy and then strain through an old T-shirt to remove lingering lumps.Not only did the brandy serve to recreate that loose-laudanum effect; a swig satisfied the senses while I waited the few minutes for the infernal teapot to boil.I had a whole list of fuel additives I'd researched on the Internet to intensify the tea experience: tyrosine, ascorbic acid, allergy medicine.After downing a few bowls of tea, I'd lie down on the bed and watch the ceiling fan spin until my body felt etherized and free again. Ready for the imminent rapture.But that was the first phase. And it didn't last very long.