I have enough construction projects around my house that I ended up buying a cheap welder to fabricate parts with. It has come in handy, even though I am far from professional.
The welder has a 'warning light.' It tells me when there is a problem, whether it is overheating or there is a system over load. It is a one-light-for-all-problems. It is meant to get the operator to stop and examine the work and the machine. Think of it as a 'check engine' indicator on a car. Sometimes they go on for minor problems, other times for major ones.
We humans also have our own 'warning lights.' Sometimes we get a 'creepy feeling' about someone. Sometimes we look at someone and notice that something is off.
Popular culture tells us to ignore those 'warning lights.' It tells us not to 'judge.' We are expected to routinely override our indicator lights. How many of you have heard, "Don't judge a book by its cover"?
The problem here is that a book's cover serves a purpose, and it you don't understand that purpose, you may find yourself in bad circumstances... because you can tell a lot about a book by its cover.
Let's apply this to people: when you see a person's appearance, you can draw a lot of conclusions. I like to think of it this way:
When your own warning light comes on with people, it is important to acknowledge it and examine why. It is there for a reason. It could be that something is new for you. OK, ask yourself what is new, and also never forget one thing:
This is important because recovery requires and demands common sense. Addicts take themselves into dark places, and they do so by turning off their own warning lights. Codependents and enabling family members do the same thing.
I'm always amazed when I talk to intelligent and well-educated people who ask me things like, "My daughter is about to go into treatment for the fourth time. Should I pay for it?"
Oh, yes, you should absolutely pay for something that has not worked three times before, because this time, your addict has told you 'this time it is different.' Look at the warning light. It is blinking. Fast. Perhaps it is just a 'Sarcasm Alert.'
The gut feelings we get are for a reason. God gave them to us, and so we should use them. Now, it is quite possible to reprogram those 'sensors' so that what is unhealthy can bypass those indicator lights, and where what is good can spook us out. This is why common sense is all the more important, as is the ability to sit down and analyze a problem and our reaction to it.
You can't always judge a book in its completeness by its cover, but you can learn a whole heck of a lot about it. You can learn about the places it has been, and how it has dealt with the world around it.
Just watch out for the 'Little Tiffany' that presents what at first seems like a perfect exterior, until you notice that there is something dangerously wrong (if you don't get the reference, watch the video).