ASP027: Forgiveness with Dr. Chris – How to forgive yourself. How to forgive someone else.

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Listen to Addiction Support Podcast Episode 27 on Forgiveness

Thank you for Listening!

Show Notes for this episode are at


forgiveness with Dr. Chris

My guest this week is Dr. Chris of Dr. Chris Life Academy and Dr. Chris TV and we are going deeper on the subject of forgiveness!  Dr. Chris has prepared so much valuable information for you.  In this episode, we go over the 10 steps of Forgiveness.  You can read all of the 10 Steps to Forgiveness and the notes below in this post.  Do you want to print them out?  You can also download them and refer to them later.  If came in on the preview page, click the title or read more to see the full post.

Dr. Christian Rizea is a psychologist in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the founder of “Dr. Chris Life Academy” where he provides people with the psychological tools to claim their natural right to live with self-determination, personal fulfillment, and live through their Higher-Wiser Self! He does this through speaking events, personal therapy sessions, and self-development videos and courses he creates.

What is Forgiveness?

It is an intentional and voluntary process, by which a victim to an offense, learns to change his or her attitude about the offense and lets go of the painful feelings that are associated with that offense. These painful feelings could be hurt, vengefulness, and betrayal.

Have you ever heard this saying before?

“Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” – Anonymous

Whether you believe this is true or not, it’s hard to deny that holding grudges does have an impact on your emotional well-being. 

Consider this…Have you ever been lying awake in bed at night thinking about how someone had betrayed you in some way?

It’s normal to have thoughts of how we would’ve liked things in the past to be different. It’s also normal to maybe even have thoughts of retribution towards the person that betrayed you.

However, there comes a time where we are not helping ourselves by holding these grudges and repetitively having these thoughts.     

It’s important to have a clear understanding of what forgiveness is and what it isn’t to go about a forgiveness process.

Forgiveness Isn’t…

  • It’s not about condoning/accepting cruel or unkind behavior.
  • It’s not about forgetting what had happened, but we’re not triggered by things as much as they used to.
  • It’s not a religious practice or experience. Anyone can do it!
  • It’s not about minimizing our pain and denying our feelings. We’re going to acknowledging our feelings.
  • It’s not a sign of weakness or becoming a “doormat.”
  • It’s not about the other person being relieved of any guilty feelings.

Forgiveness Is About…

  It’s about empowering you and taking back power into your own life.

– It’s about not being consumed by anger and negative feelings.

– It’s for you and your physical and psychological well-being.

– It’s a choice to acknowledge that we can’t change the past but that we are not going to be stuck in the past.

– It’s about becoming the hero in your own life and not the victim anymore (Hero’s Journey. Overcoming hurt and inner demons through a journey).

– It’s one more tool to help you overcome inner demons.

Why forgive?

Since the beginning of our existence as humans, we needed to learn how to live together. Our brains are interpersonal organs where we are primarily social and emotion beings. If we’re going to have long-standing relationships with family, friends, coworkers, forgiveness may be the tool we need to learn to live in harmony with each other.

It’s up to you to decide what kind of relationship you want with the person that you are choosing to forgive. It may be about cutting off all ties with that person or it ma y be about setting up appropriate boundaries to be able to live in harmony with each other again.

Health Benefits of Forgiving:

  • Decrease stress
  • Reduction of blood pressure and muscle tension
  • Better sleep
  • Increased immune health

When we’re constantly repeating and imagining in our mind what has happened to us in the past, our body and brain doesn’t know the difference between what is happening now or 10 years ago. It’s as if we’re bringing the past into the present. This will active a stress response and stress chemicals in the body.

When we activate the stress chemicals and hormones in our body, we blame other people for how we feel. This gives other people greater power over regulating our emotions and how we feel. This will also impair the immune system.

Are You Ready To Forgive? Maybe or Maybe Not:

  1. Who is telling you to forgive? Is it from yourself or others? Don’t push yourself to forgive if you’re not ready.
  2. Are you still in a situation where you’re being taken advantage or victimized? If yes, then the forgiveness process isn’t ready for you. You will still need your anger to get out of a bad situation for survival.

To genuinely forgive is not easy because of our pride. Also, it involves changing the stories that we tell ourselves and others about what had happened to us in the past. These old stories may sound like “They have hurt me more than I have hurt them” and also “My hurt and pain is too much, too big to forgive.”


10 Steps to Forgiveness!

Go through this process with someone you feel safe and that you won’t be judged.

  1. Educate yourself about forgiveness. Read stories, watch movies about people that have also gone through a forgiveness process. For example, Azin Kamisa and his son being murdered by a gang member in LA. He was able to forgive the person that murdered his son. 
  2. Understand that holding grudges and resentment has a high psychological and physiological price tag on us.
  3. Remember that when we don’t forgive, we are giving power of our thoughts and feelings over to the other person.
  4. Understand what you feel and experience those feelings through completion. Do not attempt to numb or avoid the emotions. Feel the emotions. This is done by talking about your emotions within a safe relationship.
  5. Write out in great detail what had caused you pain.
  6. Having compassion towards the person that had hurt you. Everyone is struggling in life, and understand that the offender is struggling as well. It may be because of their own pain and struggle, which is why they harmed us. Remember, this is not about saying that it was “ok” that they hurt us. Having compassion for the offender is to understand that they are struggling too. This will help with our own forgiveness process as well.
  7. Write what you’ve learned and gained from that past experience. Write what now makes you wiser from that past experience and what empowers you.
  8. Write a letter to the person (don’t give/mail it to them). State your thoughts, feelings, and what you’ve learned to now empower yourself. Include the statement of compassion and a statement of forgiveness.
  9. Get rid of those letters in a ceremonial way where you feel like there’s a separation between you and the other person. Do it in a way that makes you feel like you’re releasing and letting go of those emotions where you’re breaking the ties. You can rip it up and throw it in the trash, toilet, maybe even burn it. Do what feels congruent to with your personality!
  10. Be focused on the present. Be focused on your present life! Exercise, drumming meditation, art. These will help you with staying in the present to help you move forward into the future.

Work on the small forgiveness opportunities first that life presents you (e.g., someone is rude to you, someone cuts you off in traffic) before you move on to the bigger stuff in life.


More on Dr. Chris

As a born-n-raised Canadian from Toronto, with nothing more than a passion for helping others, Dr. Christian Rizea (a.k.a., Dr. Chris) moved to San Francisco in 2006 and got his doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology. He is also certified in clinical hypnotherapy from the Healthy Hypnotherapy Institute and did advanced training at the Hypnotherapy Training Institute in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Dr. Chris’ goals are to help people overcome challenges and improve the quality of lives by pouring his heart and soul into giving people the tools to claim their natural right to live with self-determination, personal fulfillment, and live through their Higher-Wiser Self!

People often say that Dr. Chris a mix between Malcolm Gladwell, Oprah, and Mick Jagger. That’s because he’s scientifically minded, compassionately hearted with a side of rock n’ roll swagger!    

Dr. Chris is the creator of the YouTube channel, Dr. Chris TV. Through his videos, he goes beyond superficial solutions to deeper issues by getting people to look inside of themselves for greater insight and to feel empowered to take massive action to create change in their lives!

Dr. Chris has had the privilege to work with thousands of people in diverse populations such as people living with chronic health conditions at the UCSF Medical Center; trauma survivors at the Oakland Medical Center; people in need of crisis services with the Berkeley Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team; helping families with chronic mental health and substance use issues throughout California.

Currently, Dr. Chris is engaging in public speaking events, seminars, and workshops with organizations. 

During his free time, Christian enjoys playing the guitar, training in Muay Thai Kickboxing, learning about technology and social issues, cooking new recipes, and exploring new travel destinations.


Instagram: @drchris10

YouTube Chanel: Dr. Chris TV

Facebook: Dr. Christian Rizea

Website: (Coming very soon!)

Want more information on forgiveness?  Check out Episode 22: Spiritual Forgiveness with Derek Rydall.

I’d love for you to follow me on Instagram @60SecondsOfSolitude and let me know what you think of 60 Seconds Of Solitude my daily meditation podcast!

Thank you for Listening!

Thank you so much for joining me this week. Have some thoughts you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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Special thanks to Dr. Chris for bringing this podcast together and joining me this week.  Until next time!