As part of ARHE’s ongoing celebration of Collegiate Recovery Week, we are excited to announce the launch of a new monthly Creative Recovery Spotlight.

Recovery can come in many different shapes and sizes; for many, creativity becomes a powerful and important channel through which to explore and speak about their experiences in Recovery, express their emotions, and create community with others.

At ARHE, we aim to elevate diverse pathways to Recovery and diverse voices within the Recovery community. Each month, the Creative Recovery Spotlight will highlight work made by folks in the Recovery community and inspired by their experiences with Recovery.

“Creativity” and “Recovery” mean different things to different people, and we encourage you to submit your unique and individual combination of the two. Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis, with work submitted after the 15th of each month receiving consideration for the following month.

For poetry submissions, please send 3-5 poems in a single document. For fiction and non-fiction, please submit up to 15 pages. For visual art, music, videos, and other mediums, please submit 3-5 pieces. After submissions are accepted, artists will be contacted to provide a brief statement about the role Creativity plays in their Recovery. Features may be kept anonymous at the request of the artist.

Submissions can be directed to Caleb at


This month, we are excited to kick things off with three poems from our very own Interim Executive Director, Kristina Canfield!


I am a version of me

I haven’t met yet before.

I keep staring at her

In the mirror

Searching for familiarity.

Were my eyes always this green?


I feel like a stranger

In my own skin.


Who let you in?

Was your nose always that wide?


I don’t miss that woman

From yesterday.

She gave me all I have today.

In hopes I would embrace

This evolution.


And yet,

She terrifies me.

With her truth and confusion.

She knows everything and

I cannot hide.

Were the lines in your face always so set?


She looks wiser than me

And I am not ready

For her clarity.

Has the chaos of transition always been so appealing?


Maybe if she smiled at me

I would recognize her light


Onto everything

She touches

And it would burn

Through my insecurity.




The music stopped

And the world spun

In deafening silence.

Winter crept away

And left us in a

Spring of solitude.

Hashmarks on the wall

In kaleidoscopic colors,

Counting days,

Counting hours.

The collective breath

We hold

Together and alone

Waiting in fear

In anticipation

Of all of the unknown.

Each moment more intense

And yet somehow all the same.

Will you meet me on the other side?

Will we know each other then?

We can smile with relief

And dance jubilantly in the sun…

And the music will return to carry us on.





And leave these drifting dreams behind.

The sunrise filters in

And brushes the sky with violet and rose

As day breaks and wraps me in these hues.

The Summer Tanager’s song

Greets the morning and pulls me into this chorus.

Breathe Deep

And feel the pulse of the earth

Rising and vibrating with the new day.

Meet each moment

With gentle compassion

And the same kindness

I would offer my fellow travelers.

When the golden sunset ushers in twilight,

A brown haze settles on to the earth

Carried by the Saharan Winds.

The cicadas begin their serenade,

Filling this space between dusk and night.

As the sky descends into black ink,

I drift

To court these dreams once more.



Kristina Canfield, M.Ed. (she/her)

How Has Creativity Impacted Your Recovery? I started writing when I was about 8 years old or so. I still have all of my old journals of poetry and random thoughts. My writing picked up throughout my teenage years. I guess the more angst I felt, the more I wrote. The more I wrote, the more relief I felt. Writing was my outlet for everything. I felt like such an outsider everywhere in my life and I could build my own home and place in the world when I was writing. As I journeyed deeper into my active use in college, I started exploring different styles for my poetry and at some point, my creativity became directly tied to substance use. I thought there was no way that I could continue to create beautiful poetry without the support of substances. The first time I went to detox, I wrote a few poems and it helped me to express everything I was feeling, but it also felt so empty. Like it was me, but not me. It would take years into my recovery before I would really attempt to dive back into my creative brain. I think I was always afraid that it would never be nearly as good as before. Slowly, I started dipping my pen back into the ink. It has certainly ebbed and flowed over the last 17 years. I will go long periods of time without writing and then feel a burst of creativity. There are times when I still struggle to connect with the world.


Bio: Kristina Canfield is the Interim Executive Director and Member and Program Manager for the Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE). Kristina attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio where she earned both her bachelor’s degree in History and a master’s degree in College Student Personnel. During her time at Ohio University, Kristina helped to establish the Collegiate Recovery Community in order to assist students in or seeking recovery from substance use disorders on that campus.  After graduation, she worked in an inpatient treatment facility where she continued to gain valuable experience in the continuum of care for substance use disorders. Previously, she was employed as the program coordinator for the Collegiate Recovery Program (CRP) at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and as the Substance Abuse Prevention & Recovery Coordinator for The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Kristina is very passionate about the field of collegiate recovery and prior to her current role, she worked closely with ARHE as Conference Manager for the ARHE/ARS/AAPG National Conference, Secretary of the Advisory Council, and Project Lead for two grant projects focused on advancing the field of collegiate recovery. Her vision is that one day, every institution of higher education offers support for students in or seeking recovery so that they feel supported no matter their chosen path of recovery.


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