One size does not fit all.

Working in journalism for decades, then in healthcare for more than a decade, the one thing I have learned is that one size does not fit all — no matter how much you want it to.

This is true for everything from rubber gloves to endotracheal breathing tubes.

But, most importantly, one size does not fit all when it comes to the lives of people.

Take, as an example, a recent area court case in which I was involved.

A young lady has been in and out of the system since she was 14 years old. Adult supervision during her formative years was almost non-existent. She never learned how to be a functioning member of society — let alone how to prosper.

After a downward spiral in the last year — which included being the victim of severe domestic violence, multiple minor scuffles with law enforcement and spending some time in jail — she finally made the life-changing and life-saving decision to get clean and remain sober.

She was enrolled as a resident in an out-of-county, faith-based sober living program — where she could keep clean, receive counseling, grow in her faith and learn how to be a functioning member of society without the help of drugs and alcohol.

In the short time she was in that program, she was thriving and in the beginning stages of turning her life around.

Except … in an effort to further walk down the path of sobriety, she appeared before the court to reconcile all of her outstanding matters — which included charges of drunken driving and driving without a license.

After allegedly considering statements from her attorneys, herself and an impassioned plea from an addiction recovery professional, the judge simply went with the recommendation of his probation department.

One size fits all.

It was a done deal before anybody even showed up at court.

So, instead of placing this individual in an environment where she could thrive, begin a new life and live in an environment of accountability, faith and structure, she is headed to jail for six months.

One size does not fit all.

After counseling this individual for months, I can almost guarantee she will be back to using by the weekend. If you don’t think drugs are available in jail, you’re sadly mistaken, misled and naive.

So, any progress she has made is now out the window. She was trying to do the right thing for once in her life. She was making good decisions and healthy choices.

And, it was all taken away because, well, one size fits all.

I would encourage our elected officials, prosecutors, judges, probation workers, commissioners and council members to actually find out what the alternatives are to help people in addiction.

Because at the end of the day, one size most definitely does not fit all. We all need to learn this.

God might have made us all in His image, but he also made us all dramatically different.

By R. Michael Johnson

Guest columnist

A former newsman and healthcare professional, R. Michael Johnson is a pastor, certified nonprofit executive and executive director of Samaritan Works, a 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable program which provides safe and stable housing and daily education and encouragement for recovering addicts, as well as giving assistance during the period of transitioning back into the community. The mission of Samaritan Works is sustained whole life recovery for adults affected by substance abuse. Samaritan Works may be reached at 937.638.4545 or at [email protected]