As a Marine, you’ve seen life’s highs and lows. You’ve trained hard, fought hard, and earned your nation’s respect. Regardless of your rank or specialty, you are faced with challenging situations routinely: operations, deployment, field duty, and frequent separations from family or moves.

Resilience is the ability to withstand, recover, and grow in the face of stressors and changing demands.  You may know some individuals who engage in unhealthy and risky behaviors, including turning to alcohol and prescription drugs to manage stress. While these activities might seem to relieve some stress at first, it will soon begin to worsen the original issue and will likely cause additional complications. Resiliency isn’t found in a bottle. The Marine Corps offers several resources to proactively build resilience and address stress that don’t involve turning to substances.

Combat and Operational Stress Control (COSC)

Strengthening individuals, units, and families to enhance their resilience is COSC’s first core leader function. Strengthening Marines falls into four basic groups: body, mind, spirit, and social. Together, they make up what we call Total Fitness. Think of Total Fitness like a rope. Each group or cord makes that rope.  Marines need all four groups/cords to make the rope strong, and together they are stronger than any individual part. Planning activities to strengthen Marines in all four areas is the most effective approach to building resilience.  Examples of target areas include:


  • Meets or exceeds PFT/CFT standards
  • Meets body composition standards
  • Medically and dentally cleared
    for full duty
  • Lifestyle decisions support health, fitness, and readiness


  • Self-confidence
  • Strong coping/decision-making skills
  • Perseverance and hopefulness
  • Mission focus
  • Healthy relationships
  • Assists others in need


  • Engaged in life’s meaning and purpose
  • Hopeful about life and future
  • Sound moral decision-making
  • Fully engaged with family, friends, and community
  • Able to forgive self and others
  • Engaged in core values and beliefs


  • Strong family and support system
  • Socially confident
  • Strong coping and decision-making skills
  • Sense of community
  • Interest in fitness/community activities
  • Mission focus
  • Respects self and others/healthy relationships


The COSC Program trains Operational Stress Control and Readiness (OSCAR) Marines to listen and implement stress control activities within their unit.  If you believe a Marine’s stress level and reactions are negatively impacting you or your unit,  then this is the time to find an OSCAR-trained Marine, identified by MCTIMS code O1. OSCAR team training is a requirement for at least 5 % of the unit's personnel or a minimum of 20 Marines and Sailors, whichever is greater.

Community Counseling Program (CCP)

The CCP 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. For helpful options near you, contact your Community Counseling Center or Military OneSource at If the situation is concerning but not an emergency, try the Military Crisis Line: 800-273-8255 and Press 1.

Substance Abuse Program

If you think you or a Marine you know 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. These tips are worth sharing with others:

  • 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 excessively. Drinking at home/barracks or sticking only to “beer” does not make drinking any “safer.” 

Keep exhibiting low-risk behavior in your own life and encouraging others to proactively build resilience and engage resources, before engaging in unhealthy and problematic behaviors.

For more information on COSC, CCP, or SAP, visit their individual program pages.