As a Marine, you know life’s highs and lows like few others. You’ve trained hard, fought hard, and earned your nation’s respect. But as a Marine, regardless of your rank or specialty, you are faced with challenging situations on a daily basis; combat, deployment, field duty, and frequent moves or separations from family. These situations may lead you to engage in unhealthy and risky behaviors, including turning to alcohol and prescription drugs to manage stress. 

While drinking might seem to relieve some of your stress at first, it will soon begin to make the original issue worse and will likely cause additional complications. Resiliency isn’t found in a bottle. The Marine Corps offers several resources for dealing with stress that don’t involve turning to substances.

The DSTRESS Line provides a 24 hour anonymous phone, chat and Skype counseling and referral service using a ‘Marine-to-Marine’ approach.  The call center is staffed with veteran Marines, Fleet Marine Force Navy Corpsmen who were previously attached to the Marine Corps, Marine spouses and other family members, and licensed behavioral health counselors specifically trained in Marine Corps culture. DSTRESS Line’s goal is to help callers develop the necessary skills required to cope with the challenges of life in the Corps. The DSTRESS Line is also available to spouses and children over 18. Children under 18 can call if a parent is present and consents to the conversation.

Community Counseling Program
The Community Counseling Program assists Marines and families in accomplishing their personal goals through short-term solution focused counseling, skill enhancement, education and referrals to other helping resources. It offers confidential care worldwide that meets individualized Marine and family needs.

Substance Abuse Program
If you think you may have an issue with drugs or alcohol the Substance Abuse Program can help. It equips Marines with education on substance misuse, relationships, stress management, emotional regulation, thinking patterns, and risk awareness, and tools to promote the safety of Marines, their families, and enhance unit performance across the Corps. 

Now that you know which resources are available to you, it’s time to start exhibiting low-risk behavior in your own life. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Be aware of the risks. Drinking increases the risk of injury. Car crashes, falls, burns, drowning and suicide are all linked to alcohol and other drug misuse. 
  • Make no-risk to low-risk choices. High-risk drinking puts your health, career, social life and family ties at risk. 
  • Sweep away the myths. Having a designated driver is no excuse to drink. Drinking at home/barracks or sticking only to “beer” does not make drinking any “safer”.  

For more information on DSTRESS Line, Community Counseling Program, or Substance Abuse Program, visit their individual program pages.