All it took was having someone there—someone who saw him, not for what he did, but for who he was.

Sgt. Joseph Serna, a retired Special Forces Green Beret, was no stranger to dark places, yet he stood trembling outside the jail cell that would be his home for the night.

Over the course of three tours in Afghanistan, Serna was nearly killed on three separate occasions. He withstood the dangers of a roadside bomb and a suicide bomber. He survived another close call in an overturned truck, which landed upside down in a canal. He was the only one to make it out of the vehicle alive.

Serna may have left the battlefield, but the battlefield hadn’t left him. Like many of his fellow soldiers, he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and a sense of isolation and loneliness.

To cope with the pain, he turned to alcohol. His situation reached a boiling point when he was arrested and charged for driving under the influence. .