There is something that happens in the cycle of recovery/dealing with your issues/learning to fight for purity and leave our addictive patterns with regard to pornography, lust and masturbation (PLM).
It’s called The Plateau.
Men who have started working on their issues, taking their thoughts captive to Christ and changing patterns start to coast. They tell themselves that they have made progress — which they have — and that they are much better than they used to be — also true — and then they stop working.
Others hit a Plateau of a different kind. They experience such frustration and disappointment in their attempts to see progress that they coast back to thinking that well, as long as their addiction isn’t going viral, they’re OK. And besides, they say, ever since they started attending an accountability group and trying to work on their issues, things have only gotten worse. They tell themselves that they would be better off not thinking about PLM and the fight for purity so much, so they Plateau.
The problem is, both types of men are sadly mistaken; they have misinterpreted their respective situations.
The man who sees some progress and then backs of in his efforts thinks that any sort of modest healing is enough because at least he’s not doing as much indulging of PLM as he used to. He tells himself that an occasional look at porn is tolerable because he used to watch it every other day (or more). He tells himself that there’s nothing wrong with lustful thoughts towards women as long as he doesn’t act on them.
This man has missed the heart of God that is set on giving us life to the full (John 10:10). A little improvement is not the same thing. But more than that, tolerating some sin because it is less sin is not a Biblical concept in the least.
The man who gives up because the battle is difficult and he sees no progress has misinterpreted his situation by thinking that he’s getting worse when he is simply dealing with his sin for the first time in a serious and honest way. Of course it seems to be getting worse.
The real hazard in both situations is that both types of men give up. One has a false sense of victory, the other has a false sense of defeat.