Filling the Whole, UU - spirit

Sunday, February 17, 10:30am
Hotel Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15

Filling the Whole

Rev. Andrea Abbott

At this week’s Unitarian Universal Fellowship Service, The Rev. Andrea Abbott, minister of The First Universalist Society of Central Square, examines the plague of the U.S. unchecked opioid/drug crisis through the eyes of one whose impoverished rural community has been hard hit.

Rev. Abbott shapes her talk around a discussion of three books that offer controversial analyses of these devastating social issues--Dreamland: the True Tale of America’s Opium Epidemic by Sam Quinones, and two works by Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: the First and Last Days of the War on Drugs and Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression—and the Unexpected Solutions.

Sam Quinones’ work takes one from Mexico to the U.S. in his search for the humans behind the current opioid crisis while Johann Hari offers a challenge to both the current ‘war on drugs’ and the mental health establishment. Taken together, these books offer some controversial observations on the reasons for the related epidemics of drug use and mental illness. Though many might disagree with the analyses of the problem, these books offer new insights into current culture.

In particular, Johann Hari’s work challenges much of the received wisdom in these areas and provides a radical new vision of the solution for both the epidemic of drug addiction and mental illness. His vision is at odds with the widely accepted ideas of the mental health establishment and one that puts our way of life on trial, rather than the mentally ill or the addicted. As a minister of a small church in an impoverished rural area, and as one who has worked in a number of human service settings, Rev. Abbott found these works a refreshing answer to the question we all ask—Why is there so much human misery in such an affluent society?

This is the Rev. Abbott’s fifth year to speak in San Miguel de Allende. She is the minister of The First Universalist Society of Central Square, located in a rural area of upstate New York north of Syracuse. She has served the congregation for more than ten years, first as student minister and then as minister. A graduate of Colgate Rochester Crozer Seminary, Andrea came to the ministry late in life, with previous careers in human services, teaching, and librarianship. Prior to becoming a minister, she served for twenty years as librarian at Auburn Correctional Facility, a men’s maximum-security prison in Central New York.

For more information about the UUFSMA, including our Children’s Religious Education program, Social Action outreach, weekly discussion groups, social activities and Care Team, join us any Sunday at 10:30 AM at the Hotel Lla Aldea or check out our website at:

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