Should I clean my loved one’s home?



My mom cycles between being drunk and hungover and sober but depressed, and is not able to take care of herself or her home.

I feel like if her home was clean, and she was able to cook food for herself, she might feel a bit better. And if she felt a bit better she might want to keep feeling better.

Is me cleaning her kitchen or living room so her surroundings are less depressing helpful? Or is this enabling?


Unless we are giving your loved one substances we are not enabling.

A rule of thumb when it comes to money - is spend money on things (ie. order groceries) not cash for food.

I see a huge failing in society here. When our loved ones are sick they cannot take care of themselves. Ok maybe they hit rock and have an epiphany and get their act together.

But addiction affects the brain and is a self-reinforcing vicious cycle. I feel crap. So I use. Then i feel more crap. So I use more.

I remember with my husband when we were not together we talked as a family about paying for a cleaner. He wouldn’t accept it because his place was SO BAD!

BUT I think it’s a great idea. And I KNOW that it makes a huge difference. Even today when my husband is 3 years into recovery, the house gets messy and he gets wobbly. It might sound ridiculous but showing these people, who find it easy to think they are not worthy, that they are human and worthy is really sustaining and healthy and rubs off.

Our positive, joyful, together model rubs off on them. That’s also why it’s so important we take care of ourselves (for our own good) but also to show up best for them!


I think this is a great idea/question! I always clean my dad’s kitchen when I visit him! I think he feels better… and I feel better to have felt helpful in someway. And I think @polly’s right – unless we are giving our loved one substances, we are not enabling!


Hey Marigold,

I think this would be helpful, I know when my fiance redid my house it was such a relief for me to have a comfortable living space. It also took away many triggers of a lifestyle I was trying to avoid.

I would only do it on the circumstance that your mom helps and is something you do together. The more comfortable you can make an addicts home, the less desire to escape reality


Making sure my mom’s involved in the process and the “making better” is a good point, @addictability thanks!

There have been times where, out of anger or sadness or frustration - or just wanting/needing to get it done quickly - I cleaned while my mom sat on the sofa and smoked. Me coming in and cleaning always made her upset, and it was likely because I took over and she felt she had even less control of the situation.

It’s a good point too about triggers. If everything’s a mess and feels overwhelming or hopeless, drinking or using will likely seem even more enticing.


It’s also the best feeling to clean and see a loved on enjoy it and then see them over time model your actions to achieve that positive result we all got to share. I’m waking up to a clean spick and span apartment because of this exact phenomenon. And it feels SO good :blush:


I do think doing that for her can be a really positive thing! One thing to keep in mind if you have tendencies toward fixing or helping that can get out of hand would be if you were to do this every once in a while to make sure that you’re not allowing yourself to do too much and get resentful. Sometimes I have cleaned up after others who still don’t have the motivation or ability to look after things themselves and I have found myself getting frustrated feeling like ‘if I don’t do it, no one will and it needs to be done’. So just something to keep in mind!


Fully agree with this, when we notice we’re becoming resentful it’s a good reminder to check our own self care and have some go-tos to tap back into uping our self care so we feel filled up and good <3