'I knew I needed help' | Catholic Charities Diocese of Madison

‘I knew I needed help’

5 Door Recovery

After his stay at 5 Door Recovery in 2021, Cullyen has maintained his sobriety and now has a 6-month-old daughter.

In 2021, Cullyen’s drug use was out of control. He was living with his grandmother who was battling cancer and she approached him with her concerns. She was worried about what would happen to Cullyen, who used meth and IV drugs, if she succumbed to cancer.

This was a wake-up call for Cullyen.

“It was getting really bad, and I knew I needed help,” he said.

He started making calls but felt frustrated by the lack of direction and resources he encountered.

“I felt like I was getting the runaround,” he recalled.

Eventually, he connected with someone at La Crosse County who told him about 5 Door Recovery.

5 Door Recovery, a program of Catholic Charities, provides residential treatment for adults living with substance use disorder and, often, co-occurring mental health and trauma issues. As an American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) 3.5-level facility, it often accepts clients from regions outside of Dane County where no similar treatment options exist.

Cullyen contacted 5 Door Recovery and was placed on a waiting list for about three weeks. During that time, he stayed clean, but he was anxious about taking the next step in his recovery journey.

“The night before I went there, I didn’t sleep at all,” he said. “I was really nervous … I’m not going to lie, I was kind of hoping I wouldn’t pass my drug test – not because I didn’t want help, but because I was so nervous.”

Once he was admitted to 5 Door Recovery, he experienced challenges becoming acclimated to the environment. Assigned to a single room, he felt it was easy to isolate himself. When he started participating in groups and activities, he felt bolstered by the structured days and the new friendships he was making.

“The thing that helped me out the most was the groups, the yoga, all the activities, and the environment,” he said. “I was in a really dark place, and I always do really well when I am in a structured environment.”

When it was time for him to graduate from the 5 Door program and move out, he was unsure about the next steps. A friend he met at 5 Door who was also from La Crosse told him about Driftless House, a sober living house. The more he learned about it, the more it seemed like the best option for Cullyen in maintaining his sobriety.

His family picked him up on his last day at 5 Door and he was going to spend some time with his grandmother before moving into Driftless House. But when he got to his grandmother’s house, he felt the temptation to start using again, compounded by the fact that his brother was still actively using and called Cullyen, asking him to use with him in the process.

“I got off the phone and told my grandma that she needed to take me to the Driftless House right then. It felt good to say that because I wasn’t always an honest person with her,” he admitted.

Cullyen moved into Driftless House in 2021 and lived there for two years. He said it was the best decision for him because Driftless House helped him stay accountable and learn how to build strong habits.

While there, he got a job in a factory making dry powders, a job he has held for two years. He recently received a promotion and is proud of his accomplishments. He also has a 6-month-old daughter and knows that his life would look a lot different if he hadn’t made the decision to get help.

“There are a lot of obstacles in life, I was taught [at 5 Door Recovery], and it’s all about how you react to them.”

Cullyen’s beautiful life is a result of his brave decision to reach out for help and a testimony to his determination.

Recovery Blog

‘I knew I needed help’

In 2021, Cullyen’s drug use was out of control. He was living with his grandmother who was battling cancer and she approached him with her