Feel - Then Heal
For a time, especially at the initial stage, the numbness works to avoid total breakdown as a result of the severity of the worst feelings. But gradually, the emotions return. They are still there.
To numb the emotions, Richard uses "painkillers" - paid sex, food, alcohol, smoking, gambling, and rage. Since he refuses to feel his emotions, he chooses to carry them with him. And each time they start to surface, he returns to his chosen numbing devices.
The problem is, instead of being relieved with his chosen numbing "painkillers," his life spins helplessly out of control with added consequences and greater pains. This leads him to seek help and therapy. No matter how uncomfortable it is, he arrives at the conclusion that there is only one way out. He must finally feel the emotions he fears. He must reenter the pains, resolve them, and then move on with his life.