Pipe Down Magazine was born during a relapse. Araminta Jonsson, Pipe Down’s founder was lost and hopeless, living in Bristol. She had been to rehab and knew the importance of connecting to a recovery community, but stuck in the isolation of active addiction, scared of her own shadow, she had no idea how to access it. Leaving the house (other than to score), going to meetings or even the GP seemed too big a task. So she started to think about a magazine that would reach people like her and give them hope that they weren’t alone. A magazine that published the stories of other addicts. A magazine with opinions and viewpoints of people who had been in the very situation she found herself in then.
The idea behind Pipe Down is to bring recovery into the world and the world into recovery. That means that it has content that is relevant to anyone whose lives have been touched by addiction; be it the addict themselves, their families, or even drugs workers and teachers. Because the idea came when she was in the depths of despair, she realised how important it was to involve humour. In that sort of state, she needed something light to lift her out of the darkness. Understanding that in order to really engage with people that far into the madness, Pipe Down needed to do something different. Controversy and humour was the key. Humour can really help push boundaries. Talking about issues that are sensitive in a way that the vulnerable and marginalised people in society can to relate to, will potentially enable those people to identify with and connect to the important messages beneath the humour.
Starting the magazine gave Araminta some clear focus and motivation during her early months in recovery. The reception it received as people read it was incredible. After only two copies, a company in London picked it up and offered Araminta a job as content editor for their own business. She had been able to use it as a CV to display her own talents and aptitudes. This success almost meant the end for Pipe Down as she thought she had come as far as she could with the magazine on her own and the funding that she had secured was about to run out. However the universe, it seemed, had other plans.
Alex Drummond, the now CEO of Pipe Down, contacted Araminta whilst he was in rehab. He was writing blogs about his experience of addiction and wanted to contribute to the magazine in some form. After meeting him, Araminta realised just how important the magazine was, and what a huge part in could play, not only in her recovery, but in the recovery and life journey of others going through what she had been through.
Together Alex and Araminta started to develop the concept of the magazine and slowly the idea of The Pipe Down Foundation was born. If Araminta had been able to get a job using Pipe Down to demonstrate her abilities, and Alex had been able to come on board straight from rehab and grow the magazine, who is to say that the Foundation couldn’t do the same for other people in recovery?
Using the magazine as a platform for people in recovery to develop new skills or hone ones they already have, Araminta and Alex have set up creative writing workshops in prisons and drug service centres teaching others like themselves new ways to express themselves, communicate and work in a group. Their ambition is to grow this so that Pipe Down is able to offer these people lessons and insight not only in creative writing, but also running a business, managing social media and facilitating creative writing groups around the country. They hope to be able to start employing people who have engaged with Pipe Down whilst in early recovery to develop and grow their model nationwide. They also hope to partner with other businesses who, seeing the work these people have done whilst engaging with the magazine, will then take them on and employ them in their own companies. Therefore Pipe Down becomes a CV, not only for Araminta and Alex, but for everyone involved.