"Swapping the witch for the bitch” means trading one addiction for another addiction. For example, one might give up using illegal drugs ("the witch"), but start drinking alcohol ("the bitch") in excess, or one might give up alcohol only to start overeating. The expression has been used in Alcoholics Anonymous and has been popularly used in Australia. “‘Swapping the witch for the bitch’ is how one member described giving up alcohol and taking prescribed tranquilisers and sleeping tablets” was cited in a 1978 Australian newspaper story about Alcoholics Anonymous.
“I’m afraid America has swapped the witch for the bitch and I wonder how long it will take them to see it” (referring to the change from U.S. President George W. Bush to Barack Obama) was cited in print in 2009 and represents a political use of the expression.
Google News Archive
19 March 1978, The Sun-Herald (Sydney, Australia), “How Alcoholics Anonymous helps the despairing to regain their self-respect” from Neil O’reilly In Canberra, Sunday Magazine, pg. 2, col. 5:
“Swapping the witch for the bitch” is how one member described giving up alcohol and taking prescribed tranquilisers and sleeping tablets.
Reporter: Sharon O’Neill
PAUL DALEY, EX-POLICE OFFICER: I did that at one stage, similar to what was mentioned earlier, I switched the witch for the bitch and went from the tablets to the grog, and that took me to - probably to the gates of hell and I’m not a religious person, I’m not an overly religious person, but that - I’ve had a little glimpse at hell and, you know, it’s not a very pleasant place to be and today heaven, you know, to me is just being here today and being well.
How this old Brit sees it...
22 May 2009
Obama: ‘We’ve got to stop torturing people’ Cheney: ‘If we don’t torture some A-rabs, we’re all gonna die!!!!’
Im afraid America has swapped the witch for the bitch and I wonder how long it will take them to see it.
A Charmed Life:
The Story of How Red Boots and Cupcakes Can Help You Find Happiness
By Sharon Mitchell
Bloomington, IN: Balboa Press
Going from one addiction to another is known as ‘swapping the witch for the bitch’, and I knew I needed to avoid it. If you stop eating chocolate but take up smoking, you have just swapped the witch for the bitch.
Australasian Skeptics Forum
Re: The ASF Pub
Postby redunderthebed » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:29 pm
Seriously don’t there is a term my boss says swapping the witch for the bitch which essentially means you swap one addiction for another i did this to a tea i used to smoke pot like a chimney and got seriously drug fucked which leads me onto the next thingo
The Pensive Quill by Anthony McIntyre
Mary Mar says:
2:15 PM, July 31, 2013
There is an old saying in addiction treatment – don’t swop the witch for the bitch – meaning don’t give up illicit and then find yourself sucking addictively on a licit (alcohol).