Tattoo Therapy Helping Addicts in Michigan

By Valerie Tejeda 04/08/16

After just a year of being open, Ink Therapy has already won the title of Michigan's Coolest Tattoo Shop.

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Ink Therapy Helping Addicts in Michigan
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For many people who are struggling with addiction, depression and anxiety, music and art therapy have become somewhat of a saving grace, helping them stay clean and sober. But what about using tattoo therapy to promote sobriety? 

Corey Warren, a 26-year-old Michigan resident, came up with the idea to open a clean and sober tattoo shop in his town, naming it Ink Therapy. The concept for the Lansing shop started as a passion, inspired by Warren's work with recovering addicts, and also from his own struggles with substance abuse in the past. Warren opened the shop with his mother, Jacque Liebner, following years of a strained relationship. "When I was in high school, I end up becoming dependent on heroin and alcohol and other drugs," Warren told MLive. "My mom and I had 8-to-10 years of hell. Our relationship was chaos and separation, for lack of better words."

After Warren started living drug-free, he and his mom founded WAI-IAM, a nonprofit organization that helps people who are struggling with substance abuse. After that, they opened Rise Recovery Community, a "new-age sober living" center. It was there that the idea for Ink Therapy was born, after Warren met residents who were tattoo artists and piercers by trade but feared that working in a tattoo shop environment would compromise their sobriety. "The name says it all—Ink Therapy," Warren explained. "It's therapy to them."

Ink Therapy is completely free of drugs and alcohol. Anyone visiting the shop must appear to be sober, and if someone shows up visibly high or drunk, they will be asked to leave the premises. Clearly, creating a positive environment is extremely important to Warren, who wants Ink Therapy to be a place that is safe and sober for both the artists and clientele. "It's a breath of fresh air when you walk in there," said Warren.  

The shop currently has four local tattoo artists and one piercer working on staff and any profits made through Ink Therapy go to the Rise Recovery Community program, which helps pay for residents in need of financial support during treatment. "What we're doing over there is very pure, it's very genuine," Warren told MLive. "They make you feel like you're family when you're in there."

The shop's dedication to good vibes succeeded in setting it apart from the competition. Though it opened its doors just last year, Ink Therapy has already been voted Michigan's coolest tattoo shop among local MLive readers.

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix, Salon.com, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.

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